The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 1.81 cents in the past three weeks to $3.6385 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended June 7 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, is about 1.4 cents above the year-earlier price of $3.62 a gallon.
“Regions continue to sort out their refinery issues and refinery comebacks,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Generally, prices continued to edge up in the Midwest and certain other parts of the country, and declined dramatically in the West and to a lesser degree in the Gulf Coast.”
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average rose 23.71 cents in the past three weeks to $4.48 a gallon, Lundberg said.
Drivers there may get some price relief as refineries return from maintenance, Lundberg said. Exxon Mobil Corp. is returning to normal at its 238,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Joliet, Illinois, company spokeswoman Tricia Simpson said by e-mail yesterday. The refinery had shut all its operating units during the maintenance, which began April 14.
Nationally, drivers may see prices rise a few cents as retailers try to build back their margins, Lundberg said. Retail stations were making about 11 cents a gallon during the period covered by this survey, compared to 14 cents to 18 cents in the spring.
The lowest price in the U.S. was in Jackson, Mississippi, where customers paid an average of $3.20 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $3.73 a gallon on Long Island, New York, and $3.94 in Los Angeles.
Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 3.54 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.8715 a gallon in the three weeks ended June 7.
U.S. gasoline stockpiles declined 366,000 barrels in the week ended May 31 to 218.8 million, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.
West Texas Intermediate oil on the Nymex rose 1 cent to $96.03 a barrel in the three weeks to June 7. Prices have advanced 11 percent since April 17, when they reached $86.68, the lowest settlement of the year.
Crude inventories fell 6.27 million barrels to 391.3 barrels in the week ended May 31. Refinery inputs and production of gasoline in May jumped to the highest levels this year.
West Texas Intermediate crude may decline this week amid weak demand for gasoline, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Fourteen of 34 analysts, or 41 percent, forecast crude will decrease through June 14. Twelve respondents, or 35 percent, predicted an increase. Eight projected no change.