U.S. Gasoline Rises to $3.3443 a Gallon in Lundberg Survey

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps rose 1.96 cents a gallon in the past two weeks to $3.3443 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey covers the period ended Jan. 25 and is based on information obtained from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The average is down 5.01 cents from a year earlier.

“Refiners are paying a bit more for crude and they are in the process of passing that through into the wholesale gasoline prices they charge their marketers,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “We can expect to pay a few more cents at the pump in the near future.”

West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $2.32, or 2.5 percent, to $95.88 a barrel in the two weeks to Jan. 25.

Crude inventories rose 2.81 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 18 to 363.1 million, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Supplies at Cushing, the delivery point for the Nymex futures contract, fell for the first time in seven weeks, dropping 0.9 percent to 51.4 million barrels. Refineries ran at 83.6 percent of capacity, the lowest level since March.

Gasoline futures on the Nymex rose 13.59 cents, or 5 percent, to $2.8754 a gallon in the past two weeks. Futures have risen 2.3 percent since December.

Stockpiles Rose

U.S. gasoline stockpiles fell 1.74 million barrels to 233.3 million, the first drop in nine weeks, according to the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistics arm.

Oil may rise this week on speculation that stronger economic growth will boost demand, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Eighteen of 36 analysts, or 50 percent, forecast crude will increase through Feb. 1. Eleven respondents, or 31 percent, predicted a drop. Seven said there would be little change. Last week, 39 percent of analysts projected a gain.

The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Los Angeles, where the average was $3.71 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where customers paid an average of $2.88 a gallon.

Regular gasoline on Long Island averaged $3.69 a gallon, according to Lundberg.