U.S. average gasoline price rises with oil: survey

NEW YORK Sun May 31, 2009 4:31pm EDT

A gasoline pump nozzle is seen at a gas station as fuel prices continue to rise in Arlington, Virginia, June 11, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young

A gasoline pump nozzle is seen at a gas station as fuel prices continue to rise in Arlington, Virginia, June 11, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 19 cents in the past two weeks on a rise in crude oil prices related to a weaker dollar, according to the Lundberg survey released on Sunday.

The average national price for self-serve, regular, unleaded gasoline hit $2.4929 a gallon on May 29, up 19.29 cents a gallon from May 15, according to a nationwide survey of 5,000 gas stations.

That is an increase of 44 cents per gallon over the past five weeks and 54 cents over the past 10 weeks.

The average price is below last year's levels and well below the high of more than $4.11 a gallon set on July 11, 2008.

The price reflects higher crude oil prices, survey editor Trilby Lundberg said in an interview. U.S. crude oil on the NYMEX settled at $66.31 a barrel on Friday compared with $56.34 on May 15, she said.

"This is a currency phenomenon brought on in part from pessimism about the U.S. economic recovery," Lundberg said.

The dollar hit a five-month low against a basket of other currencies on Friday. A weak dollar makes oil cheaper for holders of other currencies and tends to support prices.

Price rises at this time of year are normal, she added.

The onset of warmer spring and summer weather in the Northern Hemisphere means that gasoline often contains more ethanol and different formulations for environmental safety, which can drive up prices, she said, adding ethanol prices have also been rising.

According to the latest survey results, the lowest U.S. average price per gallon of gasoline was in Phoenix at $2.22, while Chicago saw the highest at $2.76 per gallon. Lundberg noted that Chicago's taxes are about 31 cents higher than those in Arizona.

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