Gasoline prices continue slow climb


Pump prices in California and around much of the nation continued their ever-so-slow crawl higher over the past week, the Energy Department said Monday. But analysts said gasoline costs might be kicked into a higher gear by a resurgent oil market.

The average cost of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in California rose 1.5 cents to $2.355, according to the government’s weekly survey of filling stations. Nationally, the average increased 2.9 cents to $2.078, led by the Midwest states, which saw a 6.1-cent jump. Since April 13, California prices have climbed 1.9 cents a week on average; the national average is up 2.6 cents a week during the same period.

But prices still are a lot cheaper than they were last year. At this time in 2008, a gallon of gasoline cost an average $3.903 in California and $3.613 nationally.


Meanwhile, some analysts say crude oil may be poised for a run back toward $60 a barrel if current trends continue this week.

Buoyed by a stronger stock market showing, unexpectedly strong manufacturing numbers from China and better-than-anticipated pending home sales figures, crude oil futures for June delivery were up $1.27 to $54.47 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the market’s best close since November, analysts said.

Phil Flynn, vice president and senior market analyst for the Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago, said an oil price surge was coming even though crude supplies were plentiful.

“The supply has already been priced into this market. What it may be reacting to now is a sense that the worst may be over economically and the potential for a rebound,” Flynn said. “If the stock market stays strong and oil closes above $55 a barrel, the next potential target for oil would be $58 a barrel to $60 a barrel.”