Crude oil prices stabilized on commodity markets yesterday with little sign of any panic buying as anxious traders awaited the next move in the Gulf crisis. Gasoline prices continued to rise, however.

Oil traders and industry analysts said that psychology appeared to be driving the market, not suppply and demand fundamentals. They said Saudi Arabia's official announcement over the weekend that it would increase oil production to make up nearly half of the 4.45 million barrels a day lost to world markets by the shutdown of Iraq and Kuwait tended to hold prices down. But this trend was balanced by fear of further disruption of Mideast supplies, which led traders to hold oil off the market in anticipation of a new round of increases.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the price of a barrel of standard domestic crude oil for delivery to buyers in September closed at $28.56, down 7 cents from Friday's price. The October delivery price was $28.59, up 31 cents.

"That shows that the immediate need for crude in September isn't as strong," said Arnold E. Safer, president of the Energy Futures Group in Bethesda. "In a real demented market driven by panic, September prices would be going up and up."

"The Saudis will increase their output by maybe 2 million barrels a day, Venezuela by half a million, the United Arab Emirates by maybe half a million," said Spud Westmoreland, a Dallas-based independent trader. "That's nearly 75 percent of the cutback in supply. Even if the other million a day isn't made up by OPEC members, it could come from a slowdown in the U.S. economy. But you're fighting a psychological battle. Anything could happen if there's a war, so no one is in a frame of mind to sell... . People don't know whether to sell at $28.50 or hold for a week and maybe sell at $38.50."

Prices did not go down because "the Saudi announcement wasn't perceived as new news. Everyone knew they were going to do that," said Adam Sieminski, an oil analyst with Washington Analysis Group. "And more people are beginning to think the odds of a military action are increasing. But in the last crisis we had {in 1979}, everyone went out and tried to fill up inventories. Today that's not happening. A standstill is preferable to panic buying."

Several analysts said that if the current Middle East standoff continues, they expect prices to peak at no more than $35 in October -- after current bulging crude oil inventories have been depleted -- and then drop back. Meanwhile, however, worldwide crude oil prices have increased by more than $12 a barrel since mid-June, and the impact on consumers is growing.

Several major oil companies said yesterday they had raised wholesale gasoline prices slightly in the past few days. Most of the increases were 1 or 2 cents a gallon, but Conoco Inc. said it raised its price 5 cents Friday and Phillips Petroleum Co. raised its wholesale price by 4.7 cents effective today, on top of a 2.2 cent increase Saturday.

But Atlantic Richfield Co., the largest seller of gasoline on the West Coast, continued to buck the industry trend in an apparent bid to build its market share.

Arco, which gets most of its oil from Alaska, has raised its wholesale price just 4 cents since the crisis began, a fraction of the increases posted by other major refiners. With its prices now 5 to 13 cents a gallon below its competitors' in the Los Angeles area, an Arco spokesman said, the company's sales are up 12 percent and about 100 of its stations run out of gasoline daily and have to be resupplied.

Two weeks ago, Arco said it had to raise prices in step with the industry to prevent just such a market response, but the company has since changed its announced strategy.

Jet fuel has also been affected. Emery Worldwide, a freight carrier, said it would charge customers a fuel premium, initially 4.7 percent of freight bills, beginning Sept. 4. Several commercial airliners had earlier announced ticket price increases to compensate for their higher fuel costs.

The reason for the rapid increase in gasoline and jet fuel prices in the past month has been the subject of nonstop squabbling between the oil companies, which say it was the immediate effect of the crude oil price run-up, and consumer groups and politicians, who have accused the companies of price gouging.

Attorneys general from several states yesterday called for a federal investigation of the nation's petroleum markets and pricing system, including possible antitrust violations by the major oil companies. Staff writer Mark Potts contributed to this report.