The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 6.07 cents a gallon in the past two weeks to $3.6467 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended April 5 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The average has dropped six weeks in a row and is 32.04 cents below the year-earlier price of $3.9671 a gallon, which was the peak for 2012.
“Refiners are passing through the lower oil prices that they have been paying in the form of lower gasoline prices,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Even if crude oil prices don’t decline much from here, we could see some further down drift in gasoline as retailers give up some of their margin.”
Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange slid 19.89 cents, or 6.5 percent, to $2.8636 a gallon in the two weeks ended April 5. The highest settlement this year was $3.2035 on March 8.
U.S. gasoline stockpiles fell 572,000 barrels in the week ended March 29 to 220.7 million, the lowest level since Dec. 14, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.
West Texas Intermediate oil on the Nymex slumped $1.01, or 1.1 percent, to $92.70 a barrel in the two weeks to April 5. Prices have declined 5.4 percent from the year-to-date high of $97.94 on Jan. 30.
Crude inventories rose 2.71 million barrels in the week ended March 29 to 388.6 million, the highest level in 22 years, according to EIA data. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the Nymex futures contract, fell 287,000 barrels to 49.2 million.
Oil will probably retreat this week on signs that economic growth is slowing as U.S. inventories rise, a Bloomberg survey showed. Fourteen of 26 analysts, or 54 percent, forecast crude will drop through April 12. Eight respondents, or 31 percent, predicted a gain. Four said there would be little change. Last week, 50 percent of analysts projected a decrease.
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.05 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Billings, Montana, where customers paid an average of $3.33 a gallon.
Regular gasoline averaged $3.87 a gallon on Long Island, New York, and $4.03 in Los Angeles, according to Lundberg.
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