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Rising Demand Pushes Gas Prices Up 5 Cents a Gallon

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose nearly 5 cents over the past two weeks, mainly because of an increase in demand, according to a survey.

The price rose 4.93 cents to an average retail price of $3.6065 per gallon of regular grade gasoline, according to the Lundberg survey, which was released on Sunday and conducted on April 4.

Gas prices have been rising since Feb. 7, after falling late last year and the start of 2014, according to Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the survey. In the previous two-week survey, prices rose 4.74 cents.

Gas prices have risen almost 5 cents a gallon over the past two weeks on average across the U.S.
Gas prices have risen almost 5 cents a gallon over the past two weeks on average across the U.S.Rich Pedroncelli / AP

There is no shortage of gasoline or crude oil, but several other factors contributed to the latest price rise, Lundberg said.

Gasoline demand was up 3.8 percent in the last month from the same four week period a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

"That is a hefty amount and is contributing to this moderate price rise," Lundberg said.

Also, the refining industry is in the process of switching to a summer blend of gasoline, which costs more to make, she said. Other factors included ongoing elevated prices for ethanol, which is blended into gasoline, and a rise of about 4 cents per gallon equivalent in the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil.

Of the cities studied in the lower 48 states, Billings, Montana had the lowest price, at $3.20 per gallon. Los Angeles ranked highest at $4.04 per gallon.

-- Reuters