Retail gasoline prices edged up nearly one quarter of a penny to 96.56 cents a gallon by the end of last week and may top $1 per gallon as the summer driving season gets in full swing, an industry analyst said Sunday.
The latest figure compared to 94 cents a gallon a year earlier, said analyst Trilby Lundberg, whose survey of 13,000 stations nationwide is conducted every two weeks.
Last year, the price didn't reach 96.5 cents until June, indicating that the traditional summer price rise was getting an early start, she said. The higher price at the pump was caused by increased prices for crude oil and steadily rising consumption, she said.
A barrel of crude oil now averages $18 a barrel, compared to about $15 a year ago.
As demand for gasoline goes up, it squeezes supplies and causes prices to rise.
"It is very possible that gasoline prices could reach $1 per gallon on average (for the) first time since early 1986, and it could happen this summer," she said.
At self-service stations, types of gasoline and average prices per gallon were regular unleaded, 88.85 cents; regular leaded, 85.18 cents and premium unleaded, $1.02.37
At full-service stations, the types of gasoline and prices per gallon were regular unleaded, $1.15.79; regular leaded, $1.11.28, and premium unleaded, $1.25.37.