U.S. Gasoline Falls to $3.85 a Gallon, Lundberg Survey Shows

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations fell 6.75 cents to $3.8452 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey covers the two-week period ended May 4 and is based on information received from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The price is 15.49 cents lower than a year earlier, when the average was $3.9998. The highest average this year was $3.9671, during the period ended April 6.

“It is crude oil that has delivered this retail gasoline price decline,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “This is good news for motorists.”

The price of gasoline has become an issue in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Republicans have said President Barack Obama’s decision to delay construction of the $5.3 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline has contributed to higher prices at the pump.

Obama rejected the pipeline after Nebraska state officials and environmental groups objected to the route that crosses the Ogallala aquifer, a drinking-water source for 1.5 million people. TransCanada reapplied for a U.S. permit for the pipeline May 4.

Crude Oil Prices

Prices at the pump fell as West Texas Intermediate crude in New York slid 4.4 percent in the two weeks ended May 4. Crude for May delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $4.56 to $98.49 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Feb. 7.

Gasoline futures on the Nymex fell 16.69 cents, or 5.3 percent, to a two-month low of $2.9758 a gallon in the two weeks ended April 20. Since March 26, when gasoline reached $3.4166, the front-month contract has fallen 13 percent.

Oil may decline next week after U.S. and European data signaled that economic growth and fuel demand will slow, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Eighteen of 33 analysts, or 55 percent, forecast oil will decline through May 11. Eleven respondents, or 33 percent, predicted prices will rise and four estimated there will be little change.

On Long Island, regular gasoline fell to $4.06 a gallon, according to Lundberg. Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $4.18.

The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the cities surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.32 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where customers paid an average of $3.40 a gallon.

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