January 10, 2010 / 7:49 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. average gas prices rise 14 cts to $2.74/gal-survey

NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 14 cents in the last three weeks to their highest level in more than a year, reversing a decline that began in November, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline was nearly $2.74 a gallon on Jan. 8, up from nearly $2.60 on Dec. 18, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of some 5,000 gas stations.

The latest gasoline price increase tracked a corresponding 22 cent-per-gallon rise in crude oil, said survey editor Trilby Lundberg. She added that the newest national average was nearly 96 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, and the highest since late October 2008.

She said the increase in crude prices was due more to investors’ fear of inflation and a flight to safe havens, rather than an increase in demand.

“It’s proof that we can have crude oil and gasoline price increases without demand increasing,” Lundberg said. “It’s almost like a penalty (for consumers), with the bad economy, with unemployment still going up and crude prices rising ... when the economy has not improved.”

Cheyenne, Wyoming, had the lowest average price at $2.36 per gallon, according to the survey, while Anchorage, Alaska, had the highest prices, with an average of $3.28 per gallon. San Francisco was the most expensive of major metropolitan markets, with an average price at the pump of $3.06 per gallon. (Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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