Gasoline prices kept rising in the past two weeks, as refineries and retailers recouped losses in revenue, but stayed 24 cents a gallon cheaper than at the start of the year, an oil industry analyst said.
The average price of gasoline nationwide jumped 1.54 cents a gallon to 97.08 cents in the two-week period ending June 7, analyst Dan Lundberg said over the weekend. Gasoline prices now have been on the rise for seven straight weeks, said Lundberg, who surveys 17,000 gasoline stations in 50 states biweekly for his Los Angeles-based Lundberg Letter.
Lundberg said a decrease in consumption in the first four months of the year put the financial pinch on the wholesale and retail gasoline industry.
"Earlier this year, consumption had fallen quite seriously, but then there was a turnaround in market place," Lundberg said. "Because of the drop in volume, overall revenue was way down."
Consumption Also Rising
The overall average retail price, including all taxes, bottomed out at 89.96 cents a gallon on April 25, a decline of 31.49 cents since Jan. 1, he said.
But since then, the average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen 7.12 cents.
"As the volume (of consumption) increased, the price increased," Lundberg said. "It's up by about 2.5% so far this summer, compared with last year."
In the current survey, self-serve leaded regular went for 84.75 cents a gallon, unleaded regular was 90.65 cents a gallon and unleaded premium cost $1.0407 a gallon.
Lundberg said the low price of gasoline and the fear of vacationing abroad because of terrorism have spurred domestic travel by car and the overall consumption of gasoline.
Lundberg forecast an increase in gasoline prices of at least a few more cents by the end of summer. That's as a barrel of crude oil on the futures market dropped below $13 a barrel on Friday.