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Gasoline Gains on Optimism That U.S., China Will Grow

Gasoline rose the most in five weeks as a Federal Reserve report showed increased U.S. economic activity and China’s premier pledged support for policies to boost the economy.

Futures gained as the Chicago Fed’s national index, which draws on 85 economic indicators, climbed to 0.11 in April, versus minus 0.44 in March. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for “putting stabilizing growth in a more important position,” easing concern the world’s second-largest economy is slowing.

“The Fed number is encouraging and so are the remarks from China,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago.

Gasoline for June delivery rose 5.06 cents, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $2.9401 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the largest gain since April 12.

Futures sank 3.7 percent last week on concern that Europe’s fiscal crisis and Greek’s possible exit from the euro currency may slow economic growth and curb fuel demand in the region.

Leaders of the Group of Eight nations pushed for Greece to stay in the euro system as the eight leading industrial economies met at Camp David over the weekend.

“We agree on the importance of a strong and cohesive euro zone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the euro zone while respecting its commitments,” according to a G-8 statement yesterday.

Oil products were supported by the group’s message, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

U.S. inventories of the motor fuel as of May 11 dropped to the lowest level for this time of year since 2004, the Energy Department reported May 16.

Pump Prices

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.1 cent to $3.689 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA. It was the lowest level since Feb. 25. Gasoline is down 24.7 cents since reaching a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4.

June-delivery heating oil increased 3.03 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $2.8603 a gallon on the exchange, after dropping 4.5 percent last week.

Distillate inventories in the U.S. fell six consecutive weeks to the lowest level since June 2008, according to government data.

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