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Tighter Crude Supplies, Glitches at Refineries Send Gas Prices on a Climb

June 23, 2003|From Associated Press

Gas prices nationwide rose slightly over the last two weeks as tighter crude oil supplies and scattered refinery glitches ended a recent price slide, according to an industry survey Sunday.

The average price for a gallon of self-serve gas nationwide, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.54 on Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations. That was an increase of 0.67 cent from June 6, the date of the last Lundberg Survey.

Though the increase was slight, it was the first price rise since prices peaked on March 21 at $1.76 a gallon, analyst Trilby Lundberg said. The price decreases that followed were driven by falling oil prices after the Iraq war.

Lundberg said the increase was a result of crude oil prices reacting to a move by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to tighten supplies as of June 1. A few problems at U.S. refineries also crimped output, she said.

With Iraq resuming oil exports and the refinery glitches getting solved, Lundberg predicted relative price stability.

Gas prices are now about 10 cents higher than they were a year ago, and 10 cents less than they were two years ago, Lundberg said. On June 21, 2002, the weighted price for a gallon of gas was about $1.44. On June 22, 2001, that price was $1.63.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.51 for regular, $1.61 for mid-grade and $1.70 for premium.

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