Gasoline Gains on Speculation Demand Rising for Labor Day

Gasoline rose for the first time in three days on speculation that demand will increase as the U.S. approaches the Sept. 3 Labor Day holiday.

Futures gained as supplies of the motor fuel fell in the week ended Aug. 10 to the lowest level since June 15 and the least for this time of the year since 2008, according to Energy Department data. Wholesale consumption jumped to a 13-month high. Stronger Brent crude oil increased the price of imported crude and gasoline.

“Gasoline is the strongest of the products with the draw we had last week,” said Fred Rigolini, vice president of Paramount Options Inc. in New York.

September-delivery gasoline rose 0.33 cent to settle at $3.0308 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gasoline demand typically declines after the Labor Day holiday, which falls this year on Sept. 3. Emissions specifications will loosen after the summer, making the fuel cheaper to make and expanding available supply.

Heating oil for September delivery rose 0.05 cent to $3.0931 a gallon on the exchange.

Hedge funds increased bullish bets on heating oil futures and options by 67 percent in the seven days ended Aug. 14, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitments of Traders report on Aug. 17.

“As we exit the gasoline season with adequate supplies to make it through Labor Day, the market is looking at distillate inventories, which have been declining over the summer,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, was unchanged at $3.72 a gallon yesterday, AAA data showed. That’s the highest level since May 16 and a record high for this time of the year. Prices have climbed 39.4 cents since July 1, according to data from the nation’s largest motoring organization.

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