(Corrects direction of price change in headline and first paragraph.)
The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 0.61 cent in the past three weeks to $3.5908 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey released yesterday covers the period ended July 12 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company.
The average, which reached a year-to-date peak of $3.795 in the period ended Feb. 22, was about 18.05 cents above the year-earlier price of $3.4103 a gallon.
“World geopolitics has added risk to oil, raising prices,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “U.S. refiners have passed oil price hikes through to their jobbers and retailers, mostly in the past three days, so that moderate price hikes at the pump are imminent.”
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average fell 19.82 cents in the past three weeks to $4.04 a gallon, Lundberg said.
U.S. gasoline stockpiles fell 2.63 million barrels in the week ended July 5 to 221 million, the least since May 31 and biggest drop since April 19, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.
West Texas Intermediate oil on the Nymex rose $12.26, or 13 percent, to $105.95 a barrel in the three weeks ended July 12.
Crude inventories fell 20.2 million barrels to 373.9 million in the two weeks ended July 5. Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI, dropped 2.69 million barrels, or 5.4 percent, to 47 million. That’s the largest one-week decline since Sept. 25, 2009.
WTI may climb this week after U.S. supplies tumbled and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke called for maintaining stimulus, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Twenty-one of 42 analysts, or 50 percent, forecast crude will increase through July 19. Eighteen respondents, or 43 percent, predicted a decline. Three expected no change.
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