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NEW YORK -- The average U.S. price for a gallon of gasoline jumped nearly a quarter in the last three weeks, as crude oil prices rose, according to a Reuters report.
The Lundberg Survey of 5,000 gas stations revealed the average national price for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline was $2.3010 a gallon on May 15, up from $2.0549 a gallon on April 24. Prices rose more than 8 cents a week on average.
Still, that price is far below the high of more than $4.11 a gallon set on July 11, 2008.
"Absent some supply threat, the retail price cannot catch up to last year," survey editor Trilby Lundberg said in an interview with Reuters.
The onset of warmer spring and summer weather means that gasoline often contains more ethanol and different formulations for environmental safety, which can drive up the price, she noted. Ethanol prices also have been rising. Prices also increase as the industry anticipates greater summer demand as people take driving vacations.
The recession might keep prices low, however, as rising unemployment dampens demand for gasoline because fewer people are commuting to work, Lundberg noted. Unemployment already is holding down prices, she told the news organization.
According to the latest survey results, the lowest price per gallon was in Phoenix at $1.99. Chicago had the highest average street price at $2.63 per gallon.
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