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posted: 8/26/2012 4:06 PM

Gasoline rises to $3.759 a gallon

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  • A surprise surge in gasoline prices is taking some of the fun out of summer.

      A surprise surge in gasoline prices is taking some of the fun out of summer.


The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations rose 6.8 cents in the past two weeks to $3.759 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey covers the two weeks ended Aug. 24 and is based on information received from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, California-based company. The average is up 15 cents from a year earlier. Gasoline is 21 cents below the year-to-date high of $3.9671 on April 6.

"The rate of increase is because crude oil prices have trickled down to the retail gasoline market," Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said today in a telephone interview. "I expect the price hikes will end soon or have already ended, especially as we see lower demand because of cooler weather and shorter days."

Prices at the pump rose as the front-month contract for West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange advanced $3.28, or 3.5 percent, in two weeks to $96.15 a barrel on Aug. 24. Futures have increased 24 percent since June 28, when they fell to a year-to-date low of $77.69.

Gasoline futures on the Nymex gained 7.41 cents, or 2.5 percent, in the two weeks ended Aug. 24 to $3.078. Prices are up 21 percent from the year-to-date low of $2.5501 on June 21.

Oil Survey

Crude oil and gasoline have risen on speculation that central banks in the U.S., Europe and China will act to bolster economies, on production outages in the North Sea and the U.S. and on concern that tension will escalate over Iran's nuclear program.

Oil may rise this week on speculation that the Federal Reserve will add stimulus measures and on concern Middle East tension will disrupt supplies, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Twenty-seven of 47 analysts, or 57 percent, forecast crude will increase through Aug. 31. Fifteen respondents, or 32 percent, predicted that futures will fall and five said there will be little change in prices. Last week, 56 percent of analysts projected a decline.

Regular gasoline on Long Island averaged $3.98 a gallon, according to Lundberg. Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $4.08.

The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.22 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in El Paso, Texas, where customers paid an average of $3.32 a gallon.

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