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Retail Gas Prices Rise Slightly Nationwide

Self-serve regular grade climbed 0.14 cent over three weeks, according to a survey.

September 15, 2003|From Times Wire Services

U.S. average retail gasoline prices rose only a fraction of a penny in the last three weeks amid expectations that gasoline prices were headed lower after a late-summer spike, according to a nationwide survey released Sunday.

The national average price for self-serve regular gas rose 0.14 cent to $1.7205 a gallon in the three weeks ended Sept. 12, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 gas stations.

The stabilization in prices marked a recovery from a 15-cent jump for the two-week period ended Aug. 22.

There were two main reasons for the price jump, said Trilby Lundberg, editor of the survey. First, there were power outages in the United States that interrupted production at some refineries. Second, a temporary shutdown of a pipeline in Arizona reduced supplies in several areas.

That 15-cent hike was the biggest increase recorded in the 50-year history of the survey, Lundberg said.

Price cuts already were occurring in some parts of the country, including much of the West Coast and parts of the Midwest and Gulf Coast, Lundberg said.

"Recent crude oil price declines are adding to the downward gasoline price impetus," she said. "In coming weeks, gasoline prices are much more likely to fall nationwide than to rise."

In a separate Bloomberg radio interview, Lundberg said gasoline cost about 30 cents more than a year ago.

"Chances are, though, prices will fall from here, maybe dramatically," she said.

The highest average price for self-serve regular gasoline was found in the San Francisco area at $2.11 a gallon.

The cheapest average price, meanwhile, was found in Atlanta at $1.45 a gallon, according to the survey.

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