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Gasoline Prices Fall as Production Rises

April 20, 1999|Bloomberg News

Retail gasoline prices fell from a 16-month high as refineries cranked up production to head off a looming gasoline shortage on the West Coast, the government said. The average U.S. price for regular gasoline was $1.14 a gallon, down half a cent from a week ago, when gasoline reached its highest retail price since December 1997, the Energy Department said. Oil analysts attribute the drop to higher gasoline production. The nation's refineries increased output by more than 200,000 barrels a day, or 3%, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Also boosting prices in March was a series of refinery problems in California that have limited production. West Coast regular gasoline this week fell more than prices in other areas, reflecting expanded supply. Regular gasoline fell 1.9 cents to $1.51 a gallon. Crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at a 14-month high of $17.80 a barrel.

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