Gas Prices Hit New Record High

Gasoline prices (search) across the country climbed another 3 cents in the past two weeks to a record-high average of $1.80 per gallon for all grades, according to a study released Sunday.

There is little chance of prices falling significantly in the near future, because increased demand will likely result from an improving economy, Memorial Day travel, and even the extra hour of light from daylight savings time, said Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey (search) of 8,000 stations nationwide.

"The demand push this time of year is adding to supply tightness and therefore price," Lundberg said. "I don't see any recipe for substantial gasoline price cuts anytime soon."

Friday's average price surpassed the record of $1.77 set in the last Lundberg Survey, conducted March 12. But when adjusted for inflation, pump prices remain well below levels reached in the early 1980s.

Even if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (search) decides at its meeting Wednesday to cancel plans to reduce oil production April 1, growing demand makes it unlikely prices will fall much, Lundberg said. Worldwide demand for crude oil is increasing along with U.S. demand for gasoline, she said.

Gasoline prices are up 29 cents per gallon nationwide since late December, Lundberg said. The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.77 per gallon for regular, $1.87 for midgrade, and $1.96 for premium.

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

Adjusted for inflation, the current price fell short of the record set in March 1981, when a gallon of gas cost the equivalent of $2.85 in today's dollars, Lundberg said.