story by Barbara J. Powell and Mark Shenk
The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations rose 0.37 cent in the past two weeks to $3.8375 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended Oct. 5 and is based on information obtained from about 2,500 stations by the Camarillo, Calif.-based company. The average is up 41.83 cents from a year earlier. Gasoline is 12.96 cents below the year-to-date high of $3.9671 on April 6.
“There was a big difference between what happened over the last two weeks in California and the rest of the country,” Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview. “Most cities outside of California saw a decline of between 2 and 15 cents, while in California there were gains of about 40 cents.”
Prices at the pump rose as West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $3.01, or 3.2%, to $89.88 a barrel in the two weeks to Oct. 5. Oil, which has declined for three consecutive weeks, has risen 16% from the 2012 low of $77.69 on June 28.
Gasoline futures on the Nymex rose 1 cent to $2.9525 a gallon in the past two weeks. Prices have gained 16% from the year-to-date low of $2.5501 on June 21.
Crude inventories fell 482,000 barrels in the week ended Sept. 28 to 364.7 million barrels, according to Energy Department data. Stockpiles are 8.4 percent higher than a year earlier.
Gasoline stockpiles rose 114,000 barrels during the same period to 195.9 million barrels, the first increase in 10 weeks. The prior week, inventories sank to the lowest level since October 2008.
Oil may decline next week as U.S. crude production increases and as global economic weakness reduces fuel consumption, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Twenty-one of 38 analysts, or 55%, forecast crude will decrease through Oct. 12. Thirteen respondents, or 34%, predicted that futures will gain and four said there will be little change in prices. Last week, 47% of analysts projected a drop.
The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in San Diego, where the average was $4.5528 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Jackson, Miss., where customers paid an average of $3.43 a gallon.