HOUSTON -- The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 1.72 cents in the past two weeks to $3.2618 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey.
The survey covers the period ended Dec. 20 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, Calif.-based company.
The price decline is the second reported this month by the survey.
"We shouldn't expect this to continue," Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey, said in a telephone interview Monday. "In the same two-week period, wholesale prices paid by
jobbers, distributors and retailers have bobbed up more than 3 cents and may crawl up a bit more. Their margin on gasoline was slashed so they need to catch up by raising prices slightly."
The Dec. 20 retail price is 0.4 of a cent higher than a year ago, Lundberg said. The average reached a year-to-date peak of $3.795 in the Feb. 22 survey.
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was Long Island, N.Y., at $3.62 a gallon, Lundberg said.
The lowest price was in Tulsa, Okla., where customers paid an average $2.84 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $3.60 in Los Angeles.
Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 5.62 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $2.7831 a gallon in the two weeks ended Dec. 20.
Gasoline stockpiles rose 1.34 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 13 to 220.5 million, a fourth consecutive increase, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department. Supplies are at the highest level since August.
In the two weeks to Dec. 20, West Texas Intermediate crude advanced $1.67, or 1.7 percent, to $99.32 a barrel on the Nymex.