NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States remained virtually unchanged from two weeks ago as crude oil prices hovered at about $70 per barrel, according to an industry analyst.
The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was nearly $2.6613 a gallon on June 26, while two weeks ago it cost $2.6607, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of gas stations.
The stability was mostly a function of oil price inertia, according to survey editor Trilby Lundberg. The price of crude oil per barrel hovered in a narrow range of about $69 to $71 in the past two weeks, Lundberg said in an interview on Sunday.
“It comes down to crude as usual,” Lundberg said. “There is not going to be a demand surge any time soon because of poor economic conditions.”
The average price for gasoline was well below the June 20, 2008, price of about $4.097 per gallon, but Lundberg noted that lower prices would not be enough to send people to the pumps as unemployment numbers stay high.
“That price discount of a $1.44 is large but so is the number of motorists who are barely motoring at all,” Lundberg said. “The upcoming July Fourth holiday (is) hardly a point at all,” she said, noting that most people commonly use gasoline to drive to work and back.
“Only a reversal in employment levels would revitalize gasoline demand,” Lundberg said.
At $2.40 per gallon, Wichita, Kansas, had the lowest average price for self-serve, regular unleaded gas, while San Francisco had the highest price at $3.02 per gallon.
Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman, editing by Maureen Bavdek