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The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations rose 9.55 cents in the past two weeks to $3.5058 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the two weeks ended July 27 and is based on information received from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The average is down 19.55 cents from a year earlier. Gasoline is 46.13 cents below the year-to-date high of $3.9671 on April 6.
“The rise is related to an increase in crude prices,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “This comes after the price peaked for the year in April and then crashed for 14 straight weeks. In the latest two weeks, it has turned around and headed up.”
Prices at the pump rose as the front-month contract for West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange advanced $3.03, or 3.5 percent, in two weeks to $90.13 a barrel on July 27. Futures have declined 18 percent since reaching a year-to-date settlement high of $109.77 on Feb. 24.
Gasoline futures on the Nymex increased 7.17 cents, or 2.5 percent, in the two weeks ended July 27 to $2.8878. Gasoline has lost 15 percent since reaching a year-to-date high of $3.4166 on March 26.
Crude oil and gasoline have risen on speculation that a struggling U.S. jobs market, Europe’s debt crisis and a slowdown in China will prompt more fiscal easing to stimulate growth.
Policy makers from the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England meet next week amid speculation they will ease monetary policy.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s Federal Open Market Committee meets July 31 and Aug. 1. Bernanke told Congress this month that the Fed is considering further options to ease policy if the faltering recovery fails to reduce unemployment.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will hold talks with Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann about a raft of measures including bond purchases, two central bank officials said July 27. Draghi said July 26 that the bank “is ready to do whatever it takes” to preserve the euro, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande pledged the next day to do everything necessary to protect the currency.
Oil may decline next week on speculation that central banks will take insufficient steps to bolster economic growth, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Eighteen of 30 analysts, or 60 percent, forecast crude will decrease through Aug. 3. Nine respondents, or 30 percent, predicted that futures will increase and three said there will be little change in prices. Last week, 44 percent of analysts projected a drop.
The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was on Long Island, where the average was $3.83 a gallon, Lundberg said. Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $3.79.
The lowest price was in Jackson, Mississippi, where customers paid an average of $3.14 a gallon.
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