The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 1.69 cents to $3.294 a gallon in the past two weeks, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.
The survey covers the period ended Feb. 7 and is based on information obtained at about 2,500 filling stations by the Camarillo, Calif.-based company. The retail price was 29.74 cents lower than a year ago. Gasoline has fallen 5.15 cents since Jan. 10.
“Prices don’t seem to be falling further from this point,” Trilby Lundberg, the president of Lundberg Survey, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Retailers got wholesale gasoline-price hikes, which have not been passed through to consumers.”
Retailers will need to raise prices to recover from margins that have been squeezed, Lundberg said. “In the near future, we can expect a rise at the pump of a few pennies per gallon.”
The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 states among the markets surveyed was in San Diego, at $3.63 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Billings, Mont., where customers paid an average $2.99. Regular gasoline averaged $3.55 on Long Island, N.Y., and $3.61 in Los Angeles.
Gasoline inventories rose 505,000 barrels to 235 million in the week ended Jan. 31, a three-year seasonal high. The increase came as East Coast imports jumped 52 percent from the prior week to 587,000 barrels a day, the highest in eight weeks.