Price Of Gas Continues To Go Up
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Gasoline price increases have eased off since Memorial Day, but a new survey of prices shows the fourth month of uninterrupted price increases, oil industry analyst Dan Lundberg said Sunday.
The average price of regular leaded gasoline at self-serve stations last week was nearly $1.12, while regular unleaded sold for almost $1.20 and premium unleaded retailed for just over $1.31, according to Lundberg’s survey of 17,500 service stations nationwide.
The average price of all grades of gasoline stood at just over $1.23, up nearly half a cent from May 24, the start of Memorial Day weekend.
In Lundberg’s May 10 survey, overall gas prices went up .78 of a cent. The May 24 survey showed an increase of .43 of a cent, and the survey released Sundy showed an increase of .48 of a cent.
Overall, prices have gone up 11 cents since Feb. 8, Lundberg said.
This time last year, the average price of all grades of gasoline was less than $1.21, he said.
Lundberg said he expected prices to continue going up for several reasons, including increased summer driving and a federal law requiring a drop in the amount of lead used in leaded gasoline.
On July 1, the amount of lead in leaded gasolines must be reduced from 1.1 grams per gallon to .5 grams per gallon as the federal Environmental Protection Agency attempts to reduce the amount of lead in the air, Lundberg explained.
He said adding tetraethyl lead to gasoline is the cheapest way to boost octane, and that it’s more expensive to make a higher octane gasoline that is also unleaded.
As the octane of leaded gas drops, some motorists may notice sluggish engine performance and will shop for higher octane unleaded gasoline, at higher prices, Lundberg said.
Lundberg also said more motorists are buying their gas at self-serve stations than ever before.
Last year at this time, 73 percent of all gas was sold from self-serve pumps. Now that percentage stands at 75.5, he said. He pointed out that self- serve prices are rising at a higher rate than full-serve prices. During the past two weeks, self-serve prices rose .48 of a cent while full-serve prices rose only .28 of a cent.
Finally, he said, the margin of profit made by dealers remains lower than normal.
″Dealers are still getting scorched,″ he said. They have not yet passed on some of their increased wholesale costs to the public, but ″they are suffering from losses and trying to recover.″ And recovery can only mean higher prices at the pump.