U.S. gas prices see first dip in weeks

Story highlights

  • A weak economy is keeping fuel prices down, survey finds
  • Average gas prices dropped about 4 cents a gallon
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico, has the cheapest gas, Lundberg says
U.S. gas prices dipped nearly 4 cents a gallon over the past two weeks as the slumping economy kept pressure on demand for fuel, according to a survey released Sunday.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular fell to just under $3.43, according to the latest Lundberg Survey. It was the first drop since early October, and it comes despite a recent increase in the price of crude oil, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said.
Lundberg's latest canvass of about 2,500 U.S. filling stations was conducted Friday, the same day the Labor Department reported U.S. unemployment remains at 9%.
"This translates into falling demand, which acts as a brake on prices," she said. Even though refiners are paying more for crude oil, "They can't pass along higher costs because of poor demand."
Lundberg said that for the time being, fuel prices are likely to fluctuate only slightly, "whether up or down."
The new survey found the lowest average prices in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at $3.06 per gallon. The highest were in Los Angeles, at $3.83.
Average per-gallon prices in other parts of the country:
Atlanta: $3.38
Baltimore: $3.35
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: $3.23
Chicago: $3.59
Denver: $3.41
Long Island, New York: $3.67
Minneapolis: $3.46
Phoenix: $3.28
Seattle: $3.75