The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 13.78 cents in the past two weeks to $3.3829 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended Oct. 4 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 in the survey of $3.795 on Feb. 22, is about 45.46 cents below the year-earlier price of $3.8375 a gallon.
“Oil price cuts during September have run their course and are now on the street,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Refiners have no more to give, in my opinion. They have very narrow margins on gasoline.”
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was the San Francisco Bay area, at $3.88 a gallon, Lundberg said.
The lowest price was in St. Louis, where customers paid an average of $3.01 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $3.61 a gallon on Long Island, New York, and $3.84 in Los Angeles.
Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 7.66 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $2.6076 a gallon in the two weeks ended Oct. 4.
Futures have declined for five consecutive weeks as refineries operated at the highest seasonal rates in Energy Information Administration data going back to 1989. U.S. plants processed 15.9 million barrels a day of crude and other feedstocks in the week ended Sept. 27.
Gasoline stockpiles are 7.4 percent above the five-year average for this time of year, according to data from the EIA, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.
In the two weeks to Oct. 4, West Texas Intermediate crude fell 83 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $103.84 a barrel on the Nymex.
Crude inventories surged 5.47 million barrels to 363.7 million last week, the biggest gain since the week ended April 26, EIA data show.
Cushing supplies slipped 59,000 barrels to 32.8 million last week, according to the EIA. Stockpiles at the hub have dropped 34 percent since June 28 as improved pipeline networks and shipments by rail eased a North American supply glut created by rising oil production from shale formations.
West Texas Intermediate crude probably will decline this week on concern that a political impasse in Washington over the budget could lead to a recession, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Eighteen of 30 analysts, or 60 percent, forecast crude will decrease through Oct. 11. Six respondents, or 20 percent, predicted an increase and six said that there would be no change.