Gas Prices Rise Less Than 1 Cent Per Gallon

From Reuters

U.S. average retail gasoline prices increased less than 1 cent per gallon over the last two weeks as oil markets calmed with the beginning of U.S.-led military action in Iraq, according to a nationwide survey released Sunday.

The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas rose seven-tenths of 1 cent to $1.728 per gallon in the two weeks since March 7, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 gas stations.

"Prices have risen more than 25 cents a gallon this year, but it all changed on March 17, when President Bush gave his 48-hour ultimatum to Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein," said Trilby Lundberg, editor of the survey.

"The reason for high prices had been supply concerns. Since March 17, oil prices reflect a higher market confidence that supplies will not be affected," Lundberg added.

The most expensive gasoline was found in San Diego at $2.18 a gallon, while the cheapest was found in Tulsa, Okla., at $1.48 a gallon, according to the survey.

Crude oil futures are down about 33% from 12-year highs reached last month as dealers have bet on a swift victory for U.S. forces in Iraq without significant disruptions to oil flows from the Middle East.

The cheaper crude may signal lower pump prices in the coming weeks.

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