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Retail Gasoline Price Increases Slow, Industry Survey Finds

May 13, 1996|From Associated Press

Prices at the nation's gas pumps rose an average of 1.62 cents a gallon in two weeks, but the rate of recent price jumps appears to have slowed, an oil industry analyst said Sunday.

The average price of gasoline for all grades, including taxes, was $137.96 a gallon as of Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 gasoline stations nationwide. That compares with the average of $136.34 on April 26.

The rate of increase is now what it was in February and is less than half the rate of increase reported in March and April, said Trilby Lundberg, the survey's publisher.

"This is losing steam and it's ending," Lundberg said. "Crude oil prices are down, and available gasoline supplies are up."

Motorists have seen sharp price increases in recent weeks. But the most recent jump is lower than that reported during the two-week period between April 12 and April 26, when the average national price rose 5 cents.

In California, where increases have been the sharpest, the increase during that period was 8 cents, compared to less than 3 cents in the most recent survey.

According to separate federal daily surveys, the average per-gallon price for self-serve regular unleaded in California last week fell half a cent during the week, to $1.54.

Industry officials have put the blame for California's sharper increases on factors that include the introduction of cleaner-burning but more expensive gasoline required by state regulations. In addition, West Coast refineries have reported slowdowns because of repairs and renovations.

In nearly one-third of the cities surveyed, prices on average were actually were down or unchanged during the past two weeks, Lundberg said.

Nationwide at self-serve pumps, where more than 95% of all gas is sold, the average per-gallon price was $131.69 for regular unleaded. At full-service pumps, the average per-gallon price was $161.14 for regular unleaded.

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