GAS prices up 6 cents a gallon in two weeks

Monday, August 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) _ Gas prices rose more than 6 cents a gallon nationwide in the past two weeks, the first increase in three months.

The average price of gasoline Friday, including all grades and taxes, was $1.51, up 6.25 cents since Aug. 10, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.

The price increase was attributed to the shutdown of several refineries for repairs and maintenance, as well as a dwindling inventory of U.S. motor gasoline stocks, said analyst Trilby Lundberg.

``It's not very surprising considering the phenomenal price crash of three months duration during the time of our greatest consumption,'' Lundberg said. ``It had to end sometime.''

Prices had been declining steadily since peaking on May 18 at $1.76. They bottomed out two weeks ago at $1.45. The summer-long decrease was the result of refiners overproducing to avoid shortages during the summer driving season, according to Lundberg.

The greatest price increases in the past two weeks were in the Midwest, where prices rose 21 cents a gallon overall and as much as 29 cents in some places, including Omaha, Neb., and Milwaukee. The average price for a gallon of self-serve regular on Friday in the Midwest was $1.63.

Meanwhile, prices continued their decline in some places, particularly the west coast, Lundberg said. Prices fell a nickel overall in the west, to $1.50 for a gallon of self-serve regular. The lowest prices in the nation Friday were recorded in Fresno, where drivers paid $1.44 a gallon for self-serve regular, Lundberg said.

Prices remained lower nationwide than a year ago. On Aug 25, 2000, the average price for a gallon of gas, including all grades and taxes, was $1.55.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.47 a gallon for regular unleaded, $1.57 for mid-grade and $1.66 for premium. At full-serve pumps, the average was about $1.88 for regular unleaded, $1.98 for mid-grade and $2.06 for premium.