March 10 American drivers finally saw some
relief at the pump as U.S. gasoline prices fell 5.56 cents per
gallon over the last two weeks, a widely followed industry
analyst said on Sunday.
The Lundberg survey said the national average price of
self-serve, regular gasoline was $3.7394 per gallon on March 8,
down from $3.7950 on Feb. 22.
The first drop of the year reflects easing crude oil prices,
said survey editor Trilby Lundberg, but it is mostly due to
refiners cutting wholesale prices for retailers following weeks
"It was practically in the cards that retailers would be
able to pass through price cuts to motorists," Lundberg said in
In the nine weeks through Feb. 22, retail gasoline prices
rose more than 53 cents, or 16.5 percent, as refiners idled
capacity for maintenance work ahead of the spring and summer
Lundberg predicted gasoline prices would fall another 10 to
12 cents or more in coming weeks, since refiners and retailers
both have profit margins healthy enough to support price cuts.
"Competition is fierce among those selling gasoline,"
Lundberg said. "So when it is possible to cut, there is a
terribly strong reason to do so."
According to Lundberg's survey, which canvases about 2,500
gas stations, the U.S. city with the most expensive gas was Los
Angeles, where a gallon cost $4.23. Drivers in Billings,
Montana, were paying the least at $3.31 a gallon.
The price of crude oil has eased lately due to the strong
U.S. dollar and increasing U.S. reserves, which are often
cheaper than imported crude, Lundberg said. But since crude
accounts for about 71 percent of the price at the pump, any
unforeseen increase in crude prices could turn prices higher,
(Reporting By Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Maureen