Monday, March 10, 2003

Average gas price nears record



CAMARILLO, Calif. - Gasoline supply problems in California contributed to a 5 cent per gallon increase in the national average over the past two weeks, an industry analyst said. The average weighted price for gas, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.75 per gallon Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide. That is within 2 cents of $1.77, the all-time high recorded by the survey on May 18, 2001.

But not all consumers were paying that much; some parts of the country enjoyed stability while California's pump prices jumped almost 14 cents from Feb. 21 to March 7.

"The increase of just over a nickel in the U.S. average is nearly entirely due to California refineries switching over to corn-based additives," Trilby Lundberg said.

Some refineries are changing over to a more expensive blend of gasoline and ethanol, which temporarily cut the state's gasoline supply by 10 percent, Lundberg said.

The nation's highest price for self-serve regular gasoline was $2.10 in San Francisco. The lowest was about $1.51 in Atlanta, according to the survey.




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