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Average Gasoline Price Climbs 3 Cents a Gallon

December 23, 2002|From Associated Press

Gasoline prices rose nearly 3 cents a gallon in the last two weeks, an industry analyst said Sunday.

The average weighted price at the pump nationwide, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.45 a gallon Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide. Gasoline cost about $1.42 a gallon on average Dec. 6, the date of the previous such survey.

A crippling strike by Venezuelan oil producers, refiners and shippers drove up the price of crude oil, contributing to the cost hike at the retail level, Camarillo-based analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

"Crude oil prices are responding to a near halt of supplies from Venezuela," she said, noting that the South American producer is the fourth-largest supplier of imported oil to the U.S.

Near-term oil futures in New York have risen 11% since the start of the Venezuelan strike, from $27.24 a barrel Dec. 2 to $30.30 on Friday.

Continued instability in Venezuela and the threat of war in the Middle East could push fuel prices higher next month, Lundberg said.

Although prices were up Friday, the final survey of the year, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was about 9 cents lower in 2002 than in 2001 and about 16 cents lower than in 2000, Lundberg said. On average, gasoline cost $1.39 a gallon this year.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.41 a gallon for regular, $1.51 for mid-grade and $1.60 for premium.

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