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Gas prices highest since Oct., but large rise not forecast

The average retail price for regular gasoline Friday was $3.3459 a gallon, 2.12 cents higher than it was a year ago.

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The average retail price for regular gasoline Friday was $3.3459 a gallon, 2.12 cents higher than it was a year ago.

NEW YORK — The average price for regular gasoline at pumps in the United States has climbed 8.41 cents in the past three weeks to $3.3459 a gallon, the highest level since Oct. 17, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey covers the period that ended Friday and is based on information obtained from about 2,500 filling stations by the company, which is based in Camarillo, Calif.

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The Friday retail price is 2.12 cents higher than it was a year ago, Lundberg said. The US average reached a 2013 peak of $3.795 in the Feb. 22 survey.

The price for West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark and oil used in many of the nation’s refineries, rose to a two-month high of $100.32 a barrel on Dec. 27, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brent oil, the European benchmark, climbed to $112.18 the same day, the highest since Dec. 3.

‘‘I don’t see signs that the higher gasoline prices are a trend,’’ Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said Sunday. ‘‘Retail price changes will probably be small in the near term. It will take big increases in crude to cause gasoline prices to climb even more.’’

The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 US states among the markets surveyed was in Long Island, N.Y., at $3.67 a gallon, Lundberg said.

The lowest price was in Albuquerque, where customers paid an average $2.97 a gallon. Regular gasoline averaged $3.66 a gallon in Los Angeles.

Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 11.4 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $2.6691 a gallon in the three weeks ended on Friday.

Gasoline stockpiles climbed 6.24 million barrels to 227 million in the week ended Jan. 3, US Energy Information Administration data show. Stockpiles were up six of the past seven weeks, jumping 8.7 percent. Demand slid 7 percent to 8.27 million barrels last week, the least since Jan. 4, 2013.

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