"In any recent memory it is extraordinary for prices to be so little changed for 20 weeks particularly at a time of such great demand from early spring to late summer," analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday.
The average price for gas nationwide, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.46 a gallon on Friday, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 stations. That was up 0.50 cents per gallon from Aug. 9.
Last year, for the same time period, prices started at $1.54 in early April before spiking to $1.76 in mid-May and falling back down to $1.51 by late August. In 2000, it was the same pattern: a gallon of gas cost $1.57 in early April, jumped to $1.71 in late June, and fell back to $1.55 by late August.
This year there was no such midsummer spike. Lundberg attributed that to stability in crude oil prices at U.S. refineries.
Some analysts have speculated the recent stability represents the calm before the storm, but Lundberg said that's unlikely. There is no supply shortage, she said, and any price increases would likely be corrected quickly.
Gas today remains about a nickel cheaper than a year ago. On Aug. 24, 2001, the average weighted price for a gallon of gas was about $1.51.
The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.42 per gallon for regular, $1.52 for mid-grade and $1.61 for premium.