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Gas prices flat, but increases on horizon

By Matt Smith, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An increase in gas prices is likely soon because of rising crude prices
  • The increase could start showing up "within days," Lundberg says
  • Prices were flat over the past two weeks

(CNN) -- U.S. gas prices were all but flat over the past two weeks, but rising crude oil prices are likely to result in an increase in fuel costs soon, according to a new national survey.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline sat just under $2.83 per gallon as of November 5, said Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the biweekly Lundberg Survey. That's up less than half a penny from the last survey, on October 22, Lundberg said.

But the Federal Reserve's attempt to boost the U.S. economy with a $600 billion purchase of government bonds has contributed to an increase in crude prices by depressing the dollar, the standard currency for oil trades. That means the cost of fuel, including diesel, is likely to jump by as much as 10 cents to 15 cents per gallon, Lundberg said.

That increase could start showing up "within days," she said.

"It will feel like a penalty, because prices will be jumping at the pump," Lundberg said. "And we will know it's not an improving economy hiking our gasoline demand that is raising the prices, but the decisions of the Fed."

The price of crude oil -- the largest component of fuel costs -- closed at nearly $87 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday. That's up up about $5 per barrel in the past two weeks, and nearly all of that is due to the Fed, she said.

The survey samples prices at about 2,500 filling stations across the continental United States. The lowest gas prices could be found in Memphis, Tennessee, at an average of $2.58 per gallon; the highest were found in San Francisco, at $3.16.

Average per-gallon prices in other cities:

Atlanta, Georgia: $2.72

Boston, Massachusetts: $2.86

Chicago, Illinois: $3.05

Denver, Colorado: $2.61

El Paso, Texas: $2.68

Indianapolis, Indiana: $2.88

Miami, Florida: $2.82

Phoenix, Arizona: $2.71

St. Louis, Missouri: $2.69

Seattle, Washington: $3.03