May 6, 2012 / 6:26 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. gasoline prices fall to $3.85/gallon

NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States fell about 7 cents to $3.85 over the past two weeks due to the drop in crude oil prices, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey.

The oil market perceives that demand will continue to be weaker because of economic weakness in Europe and the United States, survey editor Trilby Lundberg said on Su nday.

“If that perception continues, then crude oil prices will remain softer and inhibit gasoline prices from rising,” she said.

Also, even if crude oil prices stay at $98.49 a barrel, there could be a further drop in gasoline prices, she said. Much of the decline in oil prices happened recently and the gasoline market has not fully felt the impact, she added.

According to the survey based on some 2,500 gas stations nationwide, the national average for regular gasoline as of May 4 was down more than 12 cents a gallon over the past month.

“Our surveys showed that the price peaked on April 6, a month earlier than they did last year. It is crude oil that has brought about these gas price cuts,” Lundberg said.

Trilby said the price of $3.85 is below the year-ago price of about $4.

“This may not be a huge discount, but it is enough to provide some encouragement to motorists and consumers, many of whom are unemployed or underemployed,” Lundberg said.

Chicago had the highest average price for self-serve, regular gasoline in the two-week survey period at $4.32 a gallon, while drivers in Tulsa, Oklahoma paid $3.40, the least in the country. (Reporting By Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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