Gas prices tick slightly upward

Gas pump generic

(CNN) — U.S. gasoline prices crept up by about 2 cents per gallon over the past two weeks, but higher crude oil prices are likely to mean more small increases on the horizon, the latest Lundberg Survey concluded Sunday.

Friday’s national average price was $3.44 for a gallon of regular, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said. That’s up from $3.42 in the previous survey, conducted January 11, but down about a nickel from a year ago.

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Mid-January’s modest increase can be blamed on a rise in crude oil prices over the last two weeks, Lundberg said. The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.32 a barrel over that period, and that’s going to push prices up again in the coming weeks, she said.

“We can see wholesale price increases by refiners, who are now paying higher prices for crude, hitting the wholesale gasoline markets,” Lundberg said. “I think we can expect another few more pennies at the pump within a few days’ time.”

The hostage crisis at a natural gas plant in Algeria likely contributed to the increase in crude prices, she said. Algerian oil is similar to the European benchmark Brent crude, and the seizure of Western hostages at the In Amenas facility “did make some kind of unquantifiable contribution in geopolitical concerns within the oil market,” she said.

The Lundberg Survey canvasses about 2,500 U.S. filling stations to calculate its national average. The latest survey found the highest average fuel prices in Los Angeles, at $3.71 per gallon; the cheapest were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at $2.88.

Average prices in some other cities:

Atlanta: $3.34

Boston: $3.52

Denver: $2.89

Houston: $3.17

Indianapolis $3.45

Miami $3.46

Philadelphia $3.42

Salt Lake City $2.92

Seattle $3.40



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