U.S. gas prices hit $4 a gallon, but may retreat

NEW YORK Sun May 8, 2011 4:20pm EDT

A Chevron gas pump is shown at a Chevron gas station in Encinitas, California April 28, 2011. Chevron Corporation will announce first quarter earnings on April 29. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A Chevron gas pump is shown at a Chevron gas station in Encinitas, California April 28, 2011. Chevron Corporation will announce first quarter earnings on April 29.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 11.98 cents in the past two weeks, but last week's fall in crude oil prices may signal lower costs to come, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was $4 per gallon on May 6, up 11.98 cents from April 22, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey.

This was still below the all-time high of $4.11 on July, 11, 2008, and last week's fall in crude oil prices may lead to a 8- to 12-cent drop in prices at the pump over the next few weeks, according to Trilby Lundberg, the survey's editor.

"If the current oil price stays, gas prices will slide," Lundberg said, adding that gas prices had peaked around May 4, prior to a $12.06 drop in crude oil prices between May 4 and May 6.

There is already some evidence that gas prices are on a downward trend. In the wholesale market, which is made up of retailers and commercial buyers, prices are already dropping. Unbranded gasoline is down 21 cents per gallon, while branded gasoline is down 14 cents per gallon since Monday, May 2, Lundberg said.

Still, there is no guarantee that crude oil prices will not bounce back and a number of risks remain. Libya's oil production has not been restored and, while U.S. gas demand is slipping because of the higher prices, it is not clear whether it is affecting developing countries' demands for energy.

"We can't know what oil prices will do," said Lundberg. "The main drivers of oil price increases have not gone away."

At $4.50 per gallon, Chicago had the highest average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas, while the lowest price was $3.62 in Tucson, Arizona.

(Reporting by Helen Kearney, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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Comments (32)
lezah2 wrote:
U.S. gas prices hit $4 a gallon, but may retreat..what a headline. Always trying to put a smiley face on our economic future. Bottom line, if we keep killing unharmed people in other countries thereby bringing the wrath of the rest of the world upon us, gasoline prices will never go down for us. No one trusts any longer. We need a new administration in Washington…one with experience and at least an average IQ…and definitely no one that even knows what a community organizer is.

May 08, 2011 5:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
GeyeJo wrote:
They hit $4.30 months ago in Northern California. When is Obama going to start opening up leases on the Gulf, pull our troops out of the Middle East (they supposedly got Osama, right?) and end these ridiculous taxpayer giveaways for hybrids? On top of that, he wants to raise taxes on the oil companies? Sure, Americans won’t have to pay for that at the pump…

May 08, 2011 5:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
daquipster wrote:
I read this article and then I thought, “I bet at least one of the comments at the bottom will blame the president in some way, shape or form.”

And–surprise!–they both blame Obama. Can I just ask… is there anything that conservatives don’t blame on the president? There’s terrible flooding in the South… is Obama somehow to blame for that, too?

All conservatives in the USA appear to have two primary, guiding principles: (1) Blame whatever displeases you on the current administration, and (2) Conveniently ignore the debacle (and all of the ramifications) that was the White House from 2000 to 2008. Disgraceful and nauseating.

May 08, 2011 6:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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