Oil Report

U.S. gasoline prices rise to $3.07 a gallon

NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) - The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose nearly 10 cents due to high crude oil prices, but they are not likely to continue to climb in the immediate future, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve, regular, unleaded gas was nearly $3.071 a gallon on Jan. 11, up 9.92 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of some 7,000 gas stations.

This was below the May 18, 2007, all-time high of just over $3.18.

“The reason for nearly a dime increase in retail gasoline is mostly caused by the higher crude oil prices earlier this month and some increases in profit margins of both refiners and gasoline retailers,” survey editor Trilby Lundberg said.

“Also, gasoline demand is very weak anyway because of the high prices in 2007,’ she added.

At the current price of $3.071 per gallon, retail gasoline is 75.04 cents more expensive than it was a year ago.

The chances of prices continuing to rise are low since “these are the doldrums in seasonal gasoline demand,” Lundberg said.

The low demand for gasoline in January almost always suppresses price increases, Lundberg said.

“It would take crude oil prices rising well above the current $92.69 (a barrel) in order to move gasoline prices up significantly from here,” Lundberg added.

At $3.39 a gallon, San Francisco had the highest average price for self-serve, regular gas, while the lowest price was $2.77 a gallon in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Lundberg said. (Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman, editing by Maureen Bavdek)