The average price for regular gasoline increased 1.96 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $3.3443 per gallon. This is according to the Lundberg Survey Inc. The survey covered the period ending January 25 and based on data collected from around 2,500 stations. The average was down 5.01 cents compared to data from last year. Refiners paid more for crude and they passed on the amount to their marketers.
West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange increased $2.32 or 2.5 percent to $95.88 per barrel in the two weeks ending January 25. Crude inventories increased 2.81 million barrels in the week ended January 18 to 363.1 million according to the Energy Information Administration.
Supplies at Cushing, which is the delivery point for the Nymex futures contract, dropped for the first time in seven weeks. It fell 0.9 percent to 51.4 million barrels. Refineries ran at 83.6 percent of capacity, which is the lowest level since March.
Gasoline futures on the Nymex increased 13.59 cents or 5 percent to $2.8764 per gallon in the past two weeks. Futures went up 2.3 percent since December.
US gasoline inventories dropped 1.74 million barrels to 233.3 million. This was the first drop in nine weeks according to the EIA, which is the Energy Department’s statistics arm. Oil price may increase this week due to speculations that stronger economic growth will lead to higher demand.
18 of 36 analysts predict crude will increase through February 1. 11 analysts predicted a drop. Seven said there would be a slight change. Last week, 39 percent of analysts predicted a gain.
The highest price among the markets surveyed was found in Los Angeles, where the average was $3.71 per gallon. The lowest price was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the average was $2.88 per gallon. Regular gasoline on Long Island averaged $3.69 per gallon.