US retail gasoline prices rise for 1st time 10 weeks: Survey

Gas prices displayed in Los Angeles on July 16.
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Gas prices displayed in Los Angeles on July 16.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose for the first time in 10 weeks, gaining more than 8 cents in the last two, as retailers passed on higher wholesale costs to consumers, according to a widely followed survey released on Sunday.

Gasoline cost $3.6746 per gallon on average on July 26, up from $3.5908 on July 12, based on a survey of about 2,500 retail stations.

Trilby Lundberg, editor of the Lundberg survey said the rise in gasoline had nothing to do with crude oil prices because they fell during the two-week period. Rather, it has to do with the increase in the cost of refined crude.

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"Several days ago, refiners were already paying more for crude and they translated those higher crude prices into higher wholesale prices for gasoline that they charge," Lundberg said.

"This means that several days ago, retailers had already received price hikes in what they pay to refiners. Retailers then had to pass that increase to motorists in order to be financially viable."

In a sampling of cities in the lower 48 U.S. states, the cheapest gasoline was found in Charleston, South Carolina, at $3.34 per gallon, up from $3.22 two weeks ago. Drivers in Chicago paid the most at $4.10 a gallon, up from $4.04 two weeks earlier.

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On Friday, crude oil futures slid 0.7 percent to $104.70 per barrel and were down for the week on concerns about waning demand from China, the world's second-largest oil consumer.