CAMARILLO, Calif. -- After 19 weeks of declines amounting to 63 cents per gallon, the U.S. average pump price rose 0.68 cents over the past two weeks to $2.2454, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations.
The tiny rise came mostly from somewhat higher oil prices over the past few days, just enough to push refiners into raising wholesale gasoline prices to their accounts by a few cents depending on location and classes of wholesale trade.
While U.S. refiners gained a bit of margin on gasoline, retailers lost just over 2 cents on average. The Lundberg weighted wholesale price was upped close to 3 cents since Oct. 23; and some have yet to receive and pass through the upward adjustments.
Retail margins are now a narrower 18.3 cents on regular but exceed full-year 2014 average margin.
Since neither of the two downstream margins are acutely narrow or notably wide, they are unlikely to be retail price determinants.
Both oil and gasoline supplies in the U.S. are comfortable. It would take a decisive departure by crude-oil prices out of the past several months' band or a big change in U.S. gasoline supply to dramatically move gasoline prices. Presently, relative retail gasoline price stability should reign.
The current price is a discount of 69.67 cents under the year-ago point, a positive input to consumers. Demand did lose some strength with the end of Daylight Savings Time as it always does but is still growing nicely, and the refining-capacity use rate rose happily to meet it.
Camarillo, Calif.-based Lundberg Survey Inc. is an independent market research company specializing in the U.S. petroleum marketing and related industries.
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