Winter Planning Fuels Price Hike

Gas prices rose about 5 cents a gallon nationwide in the past two weeks as refiners retooled some facilities to start producing home heating oil, according to the Lundberg Survey .

The average price of gasoline, including all grades and taxes, was $1.56 per gallon, up 5.47 cents since Aug. 24, the survey said. Prices rose by a similar amount in mid-August.

Prices rose because a mini-glut of gasoline dried up as some refineries shut down for repairs and to prepare for the fall and winter heating oil season, said analyst Trilby Lundberg.

Prices declined for most of the summer after peaking on May 18 at $1.76. They bottomed out in August at $1.45. Gasoline costs about a nickel less than it did a year ago. Gas prices are highest in the Midwest and lowest in the East. The West saw the greatest increases in the last two weeks, the survey said.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.53 a gallon for regular unleaded, $1.63 for mid grade and $1.72 for premium.

As of Sept. 7 the survey, which monitors prices at more than 8,000 convenience stores nation wide, no longer includes full service gas prices in the national averages. Full-service prices were being cut because they account for only about 1 percent of sales nationwide, Lundberg said.
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