Gasoline Prices: Regular Unleaded Fell Nearly 4 Cents In The Past 2 Weeks
(Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell almost 4 cents a gallon over the last two weeks as the weak economy prevented refiners and retailers from passing their higher costs along to consumers, according to an industry analyst.
The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was nearly $3.43 a gallon on Nov 4, having fallen 3.82 cents per gallon since the last report on Oct. 21 by the Lundberg survey. The survey is based upon visits to about 2,500 gas stations in the United States.
``Prices of crude oil rose in the past two weeks, but we did not see it at the pump,'' said Trilby Lundberg, editor of the survey.
She said refiners suffered declining margins during the period, meaning there was a smaller difference between the wholesale selling price of gasoline and the cost of crude oil. Retailers, meanwhile, were also unable to pass along higher costs due to declining gasoline demand.
``This is directly because of poor economic conditions,'' Lundberg said. ``The economy has damaged the work commute, which is the chief input to gasoline demand.''
Should crude oil prices keep climbing, Lundberg said refiners and retailers will not be able to continue swallowing their higher costs. But she said costs of crude might not rise in the near-term, in part because of expanding supplies from Libya.
Los Angeles, at $3.83 a gallon, had the highest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the lowest price was $3.06 a gallon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; editing by Gunna Dickson)