Video: Gas hits all-time high

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8/14/2006 11:37:44 AM ET 2006-08-14T15:37:44

Nationwide gas prices hit yet another record in the last three weeks, rising just over one cent to nearly $3.03 per gallon, but absent an event that could curtail production, prices could fall dramatically in the coming weeks, according to energy analyst Trilby Lundberg.

The national average for self-serve regular stood at $3.025 a gallon Friday, up 1.06 cents since July 21, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country.

The price exceeds the previous high of $3.015 set in July, Lundberg said.

A gallon of mid-grade gasoline averaged around $3.13, and premium averaged $3.23.

Nationwide, the lowest price for regular was $2.82 a gallon in Charleston, S.C., while the highest — $3.29 a gallon — was in Chicago.

While the average price is an all-time high, adjusted for inflation gas would need to exceed $3.16 a gallon to match March 1981’s true all-time high, according to the survey.

Prices will likely begin to slide downward, especially with summer coming to a close, survey editor Trilby Lundberg said in an interview.

“Absent any extreme changes in oil or gasoline supply, retail prices are likely to slide,” Lundberg said. “Unbranded wholesale gasoline prices at terminals and refineries have been sliding, and these wholesale price cuts are on their way to the pump.”

“There’s plenty of gasoline, and gasoline supplies will be even more flush when we’re out of the summer driving season,” Lundberg said.

Among California cities surveyed, the lowest price was in Sacramento at about $3.05 a gallon for regular, Lundberg said, while the highest price was $3.24 in San Diego. The state's average fell about 3 cents over the past three weeks to $3.17.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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