CAMARILLO, Calif. – Gas prices (search) increased in the past two weeks as the cost of crude oil jumped, and a combination of factors could push prices at the pump even higher, an industry analyst said Sunday.
The average retail price for all three grades increased 6.71 cents to $2 per gallon between Feb. 19 and Friday, said Trilby Lundberg (search), who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey (search) of 7,000 gas stations across the country.
The most popular grade, self-serve regular, was priced at $1.97 a gallon, while customers paid $2.07 for midgrade. Premium averaged $2.16 a gallon for the period.
During the past two weeks, crude oil prices rose $5.43 to $53.78 per barrel. Lundberg said even higher prices can be expected at the pump.
"Gasoline prices are still lagging what has happened to crude oil," she said. "So more of the crude oil prices will be passed through to gasoline."
Two other factors are driving up the price of gasoline. The lowest-demand time of year has ended and people will be driving more as spring and summer approach. In addition, supply will be tightened by the reformulation of gasoline required by law to reduce smog during warmer months, Lundberg said.
The highest average gas price in the nation for regular unleaded was $2.32 per gallon in Honolulu. The lowest was $1.76 in Charleston, S.C.