Monday, May 07, 2007

Average-gasoline prices hit all-time high

Average-gasoline prices hit all-time high: survey

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices rose to an all-time high over the past two weeks, due to a number of refinery outages, according to the latest nationwide Lundberg survey.

The national average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $3.0684 a gallon on May 4, an increase of 19.47 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to the survey of about 7,000 gas stations.

The prior all-time record was an average price of $3.0256 per gallon, that was reached on August 11, 2006.

However, the current price is 6.4 cents short of the inflation-adjusted high that was reached in March of 1981, at that time regular grade self serve gasoline was $1.35 per gallon, but on an inflation-adjusted basis today that would translate into $3.13 per gallon.

Survey editor Trilby Lundberg said the recent spike is related to refinery issues and is not related to issues with crude oil supplies.

"In the past two weeks alone there have been at least 12 refinery incidents, mostly in the U.S.," said Lundberg, in an interview.

"All the incidents combined, served to push U.S. gas prices even higher by tightening supply, at a time of rising demand," said Lundberg.

The survey found that at $3.49 a gallon, San Francisco had the highest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the lowest price was $2.80 a gallon in South Carolina.

So far this year the average price of regular unleaded gasoline has surged more than 88 cents per gallon, said Lundberg.