NEW YORK, July 13 The U.S. national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline was $4.1124 a gallon on July 11, up about 1.52 cents per gallon from three weeks ago, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations.
This represented the most stable gas price period so far in 2008, according to survey editor Trilby Lundberg, who said refiners and retailers shouldered margin losses rather than pass on the higher cost of crude oil to motorists.
If not for profit margin losses to refiners and gasoline retailers there could have been a price rise more like 23 cents a gallon. Refiners lost about 15 cents of their gasoline margin and retailers lost about 9 cents in the period, Lundberg said.
At $3.82 a gallon, Tucson, Arizona, had the lowest average price for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline on July 11, while the highest price was $4.53 a gallon in San Francisco.
Lundberg said refiners in particular are under pressure to regain margins very soon or shut down refining capacity.
"It would take a drop of $10 a barrel in the price of crude from the July 11 price of $145.08 for us not to see a rise in the pump price," Lundberg said.
Friday's crude oil price close was nearly double its July 13, 2007 price of $73.93 a barrel. The gasoline price on that date last year was $3.0577 per gallon, Lundberg said.
On Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, August crude CLQ8 settled up $3.43, or 2.42 percent, at $145.08 a barrel, trading from $141.44 to an Intraday record of $147.27, eclipsing the previous NYMEX high of $145.85 hit on July 3. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Toni Reinhold)