U.S. Gasoline Prices Rose in 2007: Report

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U.S. Gasoline Prices Rose in 2007: Report

U.S. average gasoline prices rose 8 percent, or 21 cents, in 2007 from the prior year.

The average annual price for U.S. gasoline was $2.7878 in 2007, up from 2006's $2.5730, according to the Lundberg survey of about 7,000 U.S. gas stations.

The price of U.S. crude oil rose from about $60 a barrel at the end of 2006 to more than $90 a barrel near the end of 2007.

In the past two weeks, gasoline prices have actually declined by 3 cents, as cold weather and high prices reduced demand, according to the survey. But given increases in the price of crude oil in recent weeks, gasoline prices may rise soon, said Trilby Lundberg, who compiles the survey. Current oil prices imply gasoline prices about 12 cents above their levels now, she said.

Other analysts also predict higher gas prices for motorists in 2008.

"I think we could see $3.50," Jim Jordan, an oil analyst in Houston, told the Omaha-World Herald. Oil experts and a federal energy report said prices could peak nationally at more than $3.40 a gallon for regular gasoline this spring.

This year, the average high price nationally was $3.23. Jordan told the World Herald that Americans showed little willingness to change their driving habits in 2007, and he expects next year won't be any different.

Domestic demand could lessen with economic worries, but he said that when it comes to gas "that seems to be the one place where the U.S. doesn't cut back."

The average price for 2007 was $2.81 nationally, with an average price of $3.11 nationally forecast for 2008.

Denton Cinquegrana, an analyst with the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey, also said oil prices will remain high and a report released by the federal Energy Information Administration said oil prices may average $85 a barrel next year, up from an average of $72 this year.