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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen for the first time since early July, indicating the bottom has likely been hit, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey released on Sunday.

The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline rose to $1.7793 on January 9, up some 11.71 cents from the survey conducted three weeks earlier by the nationwide Lundberg poll of 5,000 gas stations in metropolitan areas.

Though slightly higher, it is still less than half what consumers paid in July when the average price reached an all-time high of $4.11 a gallon.

"There has been an incredible crash (in retail gas prices) that echoed the incredible rise that occurred during the first half of last year," survey editor Trilby Lundberg told Reuters. "The price has finally bottomed out."

The chances are strong that U.S. drivers will not see dramatic rises or falls in retail gas prices in coming months, Lundberg said, adding that the economic slowdown would crimp demand and keep prices low at the same time that OPEC members attempt to implement production cuts and drive prices higher.

"There's a strong chance there will be a period of less volatility in the price because these factors are offsetting one another," Lundberg said.

At $2.32 a gallon, Anchorage, Alaska, had the highest average price for self-serve, regular unleaded gas, while drivers in Billings, Montana, paid the least at $1.34.

Excluding Alaska and Hawaii, where gas prices tend to be higher, Lundberg said it was now most expensive to fill up at pumps in Seattle, Washington, where it costs an average of $2 for a gallon of regular gasoline.


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