U.S. Gasoline Prices Fall to $3.7074 in Lundberg Survey

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 3.2 cents a gallon in the past two weeks to $3.7074 cents, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey for the period ended March 22 was based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company, the company said. It was the second consecutive biweekly decline after nine weeks of price increases.

Since Dec. 21, the average has risen about 44.95 cents a gallon. It is 22.23 cents below the year-ago price of $3.9297.

“It seems fairly likely we will see a bit more price-cutting at the pump, another drop from here in the next few days of a similar amount” to the 3.2 cents, Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a phone interview, pointing to falling prices of the U.K. crude benchmark Brent.

“Those prices have been substantially weakened, and they are an important input to U.S. refinery purchase prices of crude,” Lundberg said.

Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 14.1 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $3.0625 a gallon in the two weeks ended March 22. Futures have climbed 8.9 percent this year.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles fell 1.48 million barrels in the week ended March 15 to 222.8 million, the lowest level in three months, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Energy Department’s statistical arm.

Year-Ago Demand

Gasoline demand over the past four weeks, measured by deliveries to wholesalers, was 1.5 percent above a year ago.

West Texas Intermediate oil on the Nymex rose $1.76, or 1.9 percent, to $93.71 a barrel in the two weeks to March 22. Prices have climbed 2.1 percent this year.

Crude inventories fell 1.31 million barrels in the week ended March 15 to 382.7 million, the first decline in nine weeks, according to data from the EIA. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the Nymex futures contract, fell 0.6 percent to 49 million barrels, a 13-week low.

Oil will probably fall this week on concern that slower European growth may weaken the U.S. economy and fuel demand, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Fifteen of 31 analysts, or 48 percent, forecast crude will drop through March 29. Nine respondents, or 29 percent, predicted a gain. Seven said there would be little change. Earlier, 45 percent of analysts projected a decrease.

The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.10 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Billings, Montana, where customers paid an average of $3.33 a gallon.

Regular gasoline on Long Island, New York, averaged $3.94 a gallon, according to Lundberg. Drivers in Los Angeles paid an average of $4.09.