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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. average gasoline prices rose 8 percent, or 21 cents, in 2007 from the prior year, an industry analyst said, as oil prices rose. The average annual price for U.S. gasoline was $2.7878 in 2007, up from 2006's $2.5730, according to the Lundberg survey of about 7,000 U.S. gas stations.
Gasoline prices rose as the price of U.S. crude oil rose from about $60 a barrel at the end of 2006 to more than $90 a barrel near the end of 2007.
In the last two weeks, gasoline prices have actually drifted lower by 3 cents, as cold weather and high prices crimped demand, according to the Lundberg survey.
The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $2.9720 a gallon on Dec 21, up about 3.23 cents per gallon from Dec 7.
But given increases in the price of crude oil in recent weeks, gasoline prices may rise soon, said Trilby Lundberg, who compiles the survey. Current oil prices imply gasoline prices about 12 cents above their levels now she said.
"Unless crude oil prices fall substantially, there will remain a great deal of room for retail gas prices to rise, which could come quickly or after January," Lundberg said.
The Dec 21 level is about 68 cents higher than a year earlier.
At $3.35 a gallon, San Francisco had the highest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas in the U.S., while the lowest price was $2.71 a gallon in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Reporting by Dan Wilchins; Editing by Derek Caney