Gas prices may rise slightly


Published: Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:23 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:23 a.m.

Gas prices rose slightly over the past week, even though crude oil prices have been trading at less than $100 a barrel. Some analysts are predicting prices at the pump will increase by at least another few pennies per gallon this week as retailers work to catch up to their previous profit margins.

Facts

Average unleaded gas prices in Florida

Current - $3.480
Week ago - $3.455
Month ago - $3.248
Year ago - $3.145

Source: AAA

In published reports, Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey, said the retail profit margin has been suppressed for several weeks as crude oil prices rose and that retailers now need to recover so prices will likely inch higher.

Meanwhile, AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady said demand remains weak around the world, which should keep pump prices from jumping up this week.

"China's manufacturing numbers fell for a third month and Europe's debt issues continue to place bearish pressure on the market,” Brady said in her weekly news release. “Retail gas prices will likely remain relatively unchanged this week as demand remains below par."

Evidence of sub-par demand was provided by a report from the U.S. Energy Department. Federal officials said gasoline consumption has fallen to eight million barrels a day, the nation's lowest use rate since 2001.

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