Originally created 05/11/04

U.S. gas prices up 10 cents in past two weeks



LOS ANGELES -- U.S. gasoline prices rose by 10 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, the biggest jump since last August, an analyst said Sunday.

The nationwide average for all gasoline grades, including taxes, was slightly more than $1.96 per gallon on Friday, according to the biweekly Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.

Tight gasoline supplies and rising demand were responsible for the increase, analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

The average price of gasoline has broken record highs for two months straight, although when adjusted for inflation, the average price remains about 90 cents a gallon lower compared to the peak gas price in March 1981, Lundberg said.

Crude oil prices reached a 13-year high of $40 a barrel on Friday, the highest since Oct. 11, 1990, in the run-up to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Prices for crude oil and gas are unlikely to decline anytime soon, Lundberg said.

Prices usually rise between March and May as refiners temporarily shut down their plants to prepare for the peak summer driving season, when special cleaner-burning blends of fuel are required.

"We get less gasoline out at a higher cost just when we need more of it," analyst Lundberg said. "Meanwhile, tighter regulations make it tougher for importers to bring in additional supplies."

The average price of gas at self-serve pumps on Friday was about $1.93 for regular, $2.02 for mid-grade and $2.11 for premium.