NEW YORK Dec 8 The average price for a gallon
of gasoline in the United States rose over the past two weeks
for the second time in a row, according to the Lundberg survey
released on Sunday, after months of falling prices.
A gallon of regular-grade gasoline costs $3.28 a gallon on
average across the U.S., a rise of 2.7 cents from the last
survey two week ago, according to the survey taken on Dec 6.
"The rise comes from mostly from two elements: One is
slightly higher crude oil prices and the other is some profit
margin recovery at the retail station level," said Trilby
Lundberg, publisher of the survey.
Prices in the previous Nov. 22 survey had risen 3.4 cents
after falling 37 cents a gallon between early September and the
start of November. Nevertheless, the Dec. 6 price is still 9.6
cents below prices of a year go.
Los Angeles had the highest average price of $3.61 cents a
gallon, while drivers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, paid the lowest
average price of $2.84, according to the survey of major cities
in the 48 continental states.
"We should see a few more pennies at the pump over the next
several days even if oil prices don't rise further because U.S.
refiners need the same sort of gasoline margin recovery as
retailers just received," Lundberg said.
U.S. refiners had booked higher refining margins for most of
November, according to Credit Suisse's weekly reports, including
a huge 70 percent rise in the Gulf Coast during the week ending
on Nov. 15, before falling at the end of the month.
Higher oil prices spell higher operational costs for
refineries which must either take the economic hit or raise the
price at which it sells its refined products such as gasoline.
U.S. oil prices posted their largest weekly percentage gain
since July on Friday as a string of positive economic data
signaled increased demand. U.S. benchmark crude oil future
settled at $97.65 a barrel, 27 cents higher on the day.
(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Diane Craft)