U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise to $3.545 a Gallon in Lundberg Survey

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps rose 0.84 cent a gallon in the past two weeks to $3.5447 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc. It’s the first price increase in eight weeks.

The survey covers the period ended May 3 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The average price has fallen 25.03 cents from the peak on Feb. 22, and 30.05 cents from this time last year, the survey showed.

The increase is due to a combination of factors, including rising crude oil prices, more expensive summer gasoline specifications, higher costs for ethanol and an expected rise in demand as the summer driving season kicks into gear, Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview.

“All these items together indicate that we will have some further, if only moderate, increases at the consumer level,” Lundberg said. “We will have increases, but they won’t be shockers.”

Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 5.3 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $2.8254 a gallon in the two weeks ended May 3. Futures have gained 0.5 percent this year.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles declined 1.82 million barrels in the week ended April 26 to 216 million, the lowest level since Nov. 30, Energy Information Administration data show.

Gasoline demand, measured by deliveries to wholesalers, was at its lowest seasonal point in the past five years.

West Texas Intermediate oil on the Nymex rose $7.60, or 8.6 percent, to $95.61 a barrel in the two weeks to May 3. Prices have climbed 4.1 percent this year.

Crude Declining

Crude inventories jumped 6.7 million barrels in the week ended April 26 to 395.3 million, according to data from the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistics arm. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the Nymex futures contract, fell 2.7 percent to 49.8 million barrels.

Oil will decline next week after U.S. crude inventories reached an 82-year high amid signs of economic slowdown in the U.S. and China, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Sixteen of 34 analysts, or 47 percent, forecast futures will drop through May 10. Twelve respondents, or 35 percent, projected a gain and six said there would be little change. Last week, 40 percent of analysts projected an increase.

Ethanol futures rose 8.6 percent since April 19 to $2.703 a gallon on May 3.

The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.28 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where customers paid an average of $3.20 a gallon.

Regular gasoline on Long Island, New York, averaged $3.68 a gallon, according to Lundberg. Drivers in Los Angeles paid an average of $3.85 a gallon.

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