Gas prices climb at the local pump

Monday, February 16, 2004

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Retail gasoline prices continue to climb at the nation's pumps, rising more than 17 cents a gallon since late December, according to a study released Sunday. Gas prices for all grades rose 3.61 cents in the past weeks to a national average of $1.68 per gallon, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations.

The price of retail diesel fuel also was up 3 cents, reaching a national average of $1.69 per gallon.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said several factors were responsible for the hike, including OPEC's decision to cut oil production by 1 million barrels a day beginning April 1.

Also, rising crude oil prices and cold weather increased the demand for heating oil, Lundberg said.

The rate of increase was slowing, compared to the past period, but Lundberg said there is no indication "prices have peaked or will fall anytime soon."

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.65 for regular, $1.75 for mid-grade, and $1.84 for premium.

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