Gasoline prices jump a record 14 cents over two weeks

The Associated Press
Tuesday March 26, 2002

CAMARILLO — Gas prices surged a record 14 cents over the past two weeks as factors combined to increase demand and lower supply, according to an industry analyst. 

Friday’s weighted price per gallon for all grades and taxes was nearly $1.38, up 14.36 cents per gallon from March 8, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 gas stations nationwide. 

It was the largest two-week cents-per-gallon increase since the survey began a half-century ago, analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday. The next-largest was 12.69 cents in April 2001. 

Various factors caused the increase, Lundberg said. 

Crude oil prices have continued to rise with an agreement by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain production cuts through June. U.S. oil inventories are down as refineries perform maintenance for a seasonal rise in demand that is already beginning. 

Refineries serving many urban areas also have to reduce the vapor pressure of their fuel every March to meet emissions requirements, she said. 

Economic recovery in the United States and abroad is increasing demand, as have gas prices that dipped sharply in the months after Sept. 11, she said. 

Prices remain well below the $1.56 per gallon motorists were paying Sept. 9, and are about 9 cents lower than a year ago, Lundberg said. 

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.35 per gallon for regular, $1.44 for mid-grade and $1.53 for premium.