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NATION / WORLD: ENERGY

Gasoline, Oil Prices Plunge as Inventories Rise

April 23, 1998|Times Wire Services

Prices for gasoline and crude oil tumbled after an industry report showed an unexpected rise in stocks of both commodities. U.S. gasoline inventories shot up 1.4 million barrels, or 0.6%, last week to 212.2 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute reported after trading Tuesday, leaving them 9% higher than a year earlier. Analysts had expected a decline because of refinery stoppages. But refining rates were at their highest level since late September, the report said. U.S. oil stocks rose 3.3 million barrels to 340.8 million barrels, their highest level since March 1994, the API said. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil prices fell 44 cents to $15.54 per barrel, and May gasoline tumbled 2.07 cents to 50.61 cents a gallon. Refiners are making as much gasoline as possible on expectations that this summer will be the heaviest travel season ever, said Bill O'Grady, an analyst at A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis.

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