The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps rose 24.75 cents a gallon in the past two weeks to $3.5918 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended Feb. 8 and is based on information obtained from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The average is up 8.17 cents from a year earlier. It was the biggest jump since the two weeks ended March 4, 2011.
“Now that wholesale price hikes have accelerated, retailers will not be able to delay much further before passing through these hikes to consumers,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “That’s enough reason for us to expect a few more pennies at the pump even if crude oil prices do not rise.”
West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 16 cents to $95.72 a barrel in the two weeks to Feb. 8.
Crude inventories rose 2.62 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 1 to 371.7 million, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Supplies at Cushing, the delivery point for the Nymex futures contract, dropped 0.6 percent to 51.4 million barrels. Refineries ran at 84.2 percent of capacity.
Gasoline futures on the Nymex advanced 18.3 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $3.0588 a gallon in the past two weeks. Futures have risen 8.8 percent this year.
U.S. gasoline stockpiles rose 1.74 million barrels to 234 million, according to the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistics arm.
Oil may fall this week as technical indicators signal that prices may have risen too quickly to be sustainable, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Eighteen of 37 analysts, or 49 percent, forecast crude will increase through Feb. 15. Twelve respondents, or 32 percent, predicted an increase and seven said there would be little change. Last week, 42 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 $4.10 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Billings, Montana, where customers paid an average of $3.05 a gallon.
Regular gasoline on Long Island averaged $3.93 a gallon, according to Lundberg.
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