“The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations increased 3.74 cents over the past two weeks and may have peaked, according to Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey Inc.
The price jump to $3.9671 a gallon covers the period ended April 6 and is based on the Camarillo, California-based company’s survey of about 2,500 stations.
“Price hikes at the pump have been losing steam for weeks,” Lundberg said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Crude oil prices have slipped and if they don’t rebound in the very near future, gasoline prices will peak very soon, if they haven’t already.”
The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the cities surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.45 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where customers paid an average of $3.66.
On Long Island, regular gasoline was $4.14 a gallon, while Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $4.27, according to Lundberg.
“The price spikes had been led by places like Chicago and Los Angeles,” Lundberg said. “Now, we see some of these prices tumbling.”
Gasoline on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 1.3 percent to $3.3405 a gallon in the two weeks ended April 5.
“Compared to the magnitude of recent price spikes, this is small,” Lundberg said. The increase was the smallest rise for the motor fuel since the two weeks between Jan. 6 and Jan. 20, according to Lundberg Survey. A decline in U.S. oil prices over the past two weeks has helped, she said.
The front-month crude contract on the Nymex fell $3.56 to $103.31 a barrel during that period, while Brent oil in London declined $1.70 to $123.43. Nymex trading was closed April 6 for the Good Friday holiday.
Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange have climbed 24 percent this year, the best performance in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities.
Prices had surged on speculation that refinery closings would tighten supplies and as crude rose on concern that tensions with Iran over its nuclear program would reduce oil supplies. New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude is up 4.5 percent in 2012, and Brent oil on the ICE Futures Europe exchange has gained 15 percent.
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