Gas prices up more than 5 cents a gallon

/ Source: The Associated Press

Gas prices at the pump rose for the first time in nearly three months, primarily from higher crude oil prices, an industry analyst said Sunday.

Between Jan. 7 and Friday, the combined average price for all grades of gasoline rose more than 5 cents a gallon, to $1.87 compared to the prior two weeks, said analyst Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations across the country.

The average national price for self-serve regular, the most popular, was $1.85 a gallon. Mid-grade cost $1.95 and premium was priced at $2.04 a gallon for the period.

The crude oil market may continue to rise if the members of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decide to cut production again during their scheduled Jan. 30 meeting, Lundberg said.

The surge in oil prices has been a consistent factor in the January downturn in the U.S. stock market. After peaking in the mid $50-per-barrel range in October, crude oil futures fell into the low $40 range by December, but spiked to nearly $50 again last week.

Prices also could rise in the near term because the demand for gasoline, which falls to its annual nadir in January, will start to escalate, Lundberg said.

At surveyed stations, the highest average price for all grades combined was in Honolulu, at $2.32 a gallon. The lowest for all grades was $1.70 a gallon in Cheyenne, Wyo.