Gasoline prices continue steady rise: survey

Gasoline pumps are seen at an Alliance gas station in Ventura, California June 19, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States continued to rise over the last two weeks in January, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline rose by around 8 cents to $1.86 in the last two weeks. The same survey two weeks ago was the first to see U.S. gas prices rise since July.

U.S. retail prices bottomed out at $1.66 a gallon five weeks ago, according to the survey, after hitting a peak of $4.11 on July 11.

Crude oil price rises and a reduction in the rate of decline in U.S. demand pulled up gasoline prices from their trough, said survey editor Trilby Lundberg.

“Moderately rising oil prices are the chief reason gasoline prices are up,” said Lundberg. “Also, low gasoline prices did their work and have breathed a little life back into gasoline demand.”

Lundberg said that for full year 2008, gasoline demand suffered shrinkage of 3.5 percent but that after the five-month price crash, demand’s latest decline is just 0.6 percent.

According to the survey, on January 23 the lowest city average regular grade price was Billings, Montana at $1.44; the highest was Anchorage, Alaska, at $2.37.

The nationwide Lundberg survey polls 5,000 gas stations in U.S. metropolitan areas.

Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Phil Berlowitz