LOS ANGELES – Retail gas prices rose an average of 10 cents in the past two weeks as Hurricane Rita idled refineries along the Gulf Coast, squeezing production capacity already hurt by Hurricane Katrina, the nationwide Lundberg Survey said.
The weighted average price for all three grades rose to $2.93 a gallon on Oct. 7, compared to the previous survey two weeks earlier, said Trilby Lundberg (search), who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey (search) of 7,000 gas stations around the country.
Self-serve regular averaged $2.91 a gallon nationwide. The price for midgrade was $3.01, while premium-grade hit $3.11.
The average price of gas at the pump had fallen an average 20 cents in the previous survey period before Rita slammed into Texas and Louisiana.
Since then, gasoline imports have increased and demand for gasoline has been easing back some. And gas prices, which are about 92 cents higher than they were a year ago, have caused many consumers to cut back. Crude oil prices have also dipped slightly recently.
Meanwhile, many of the refineries hurt by Katrina (search) and Rita have been gradually resuming production.
All those factors should help drive down prices soon, Lundberg said.
"The uptick in price will not last," she said. "If nothing interrupts oil supply and if no new disaster affects gasoline supply, then not only should gasoline prices be falling near-term, but they might continue falling for several weeks."
Among the stations included in the survey, the lowest price for unleaded regular was in Anchorage, Alaska, at $2.65 a gallon. The highest was in Honolulu at $3.38.