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U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise to About $2.81 a Gallon

The average retail price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States cost about 6.5 cents more last week, rising for the first time since early July on the back of higher crude oil prices, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was about $2.8135 a gallon on Sept. 7, up from $2.7485 a gallon on Aug. 24, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations.

Gasoline prices are up about 15 cents from a year ago, but remain about 37 cents per gallon below the all-time U.S. average high of $3.1827 on May 18, survey editor Trilby Lundberg said.

The most recent increase was due to a rise in crude oil prices ahead of this week's OPEC meeting, but prices will likely remain steady in the coming weeks because there is still ample supply, Lundberg said.

"It is crude oil that ended the price slide at the pump and turned it upward," Lundberg said. "The supports behind crude oil are world demand and OPEC, which is expected to retain its hard line with a no change in official output" at its Sept. 11 meeting.

Threats to oil supplies, such as the recent al-Qaeda attacks in oil exporter Algeria, could also still affect the price of oil, Lundberg said, but she added it is normal for supply to ebb at this time of year as gasoline demand tends to fall after August and refineries begin to switch over to autumn and winter blends.

At $3.27 a gallon, Chicago had the highest average price for self-serve, regular unleaded gas, while the lowest price found was $2.52 a gallon in Newark, New Jersey.

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