U.S. gallon of gas jumps to $3.76, could see $4-survey

* Pump prices less than 10 pct below record high

* Refiners, retailers slow to pass on higher crude prices

* Consumers demand less gas as prices rise

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) – The average price for a
gallon of gasoline in the United States has moved closer to $4,
jumping more than 19 cents since mid-March to a level less than
10 percent below its all-time high, a widely followed survey
said on Sunday.

The Lundberg Survey said the national average price of
self-serve, regular unleaded gas was $3.765 on Friday, up from
$3.573 on March 18, and up 91.3 cents from $2.852 a year ago.

Prices in several western U.S. cities are already above $4
per gallon, led by San Francisco at $4.13. Chicago was close
behind at $4.11 a gallon, the survey said.

The national average would have been higher had refiners
and retailers not resisted passing on rising crude oil prices
as customers grow less willing to pay what it takes to fill
their gas tanks, analyst Trilby Lundberg said in an interview.

“Demand has been falling at these prices,” she said.

The record high average pump price is $4.112 set on July
11, 2008. Lundberg tracks roughly 2,500 gas stations.

Crude oil prices are higher amid unrest in Libya and
elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as a weaker U.S. dollar,
which on Friday fell to a 15-month low against the euro.

A falling dollar often lifts dollar-denominated commodities
such as oil. This is because some investors use commodities as
an inflation hedge, and consumers who use other currencies may
view the commodities as cheap and buy more, driving up prices.

U.S. crude (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research) settled Friday at $112.79 per barrel,
after earlier reaching its highest intraday price since
September 2008. ICE Brent crude (LCOc1: Quote, Profile, Research) settled at $126.65 per
barrel, the highest settlement since July 2008.

Even if crude prices do not change, Lundberg said pump
prices could rise another dime per gallon as earlier increases
work their way into the retail market.

“One gets a little bit depressed talking about it, but we
are getting closer” to a $4 per gallon average, though “there
is no telling” when or whether it will occur, Lundberg said.

The average price for diesel fuel did top $4 per gallon for
the first time since 2008, rising to $4.09 from $3.978 three
weeks earlier, and $3.056 a year ago, according to the Lundberg
survey, which is done in Camarillo, California.

The lowest average price for a gallon of unleaded gas in
the 48 contiguous states was in Tucson, Arizona, at $3.41,
Lundberg said. San Francisco had the highest price.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, editing by Maureen
Bavdek)

U.S. gallon of gas jumps to $3.76, could see $4-survey