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Gas Prices Hit Record High of $1.73

March 18, 2003
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WASHINGTON - Gasoline prices jumped another 1.6 cents this week to a national average of $1.728 a gallon, eclipsing the record high set in May 2001, the Energy Information Administration said Monday.

The EIA has predicted that prices would continue to soar at the pump because of tight supplies and high crude oil costs and reach an average of $1.76 cents a gallon next month.

Motorists probably will pay more than $1.70 cents a gallon through the summer driving season, the agency said.

In its weekly gasoline price tally, the EIA said Monday that regular gasoline prices ranged from a low of $1.61 a gallon along the Gulf Coast to a high of $2.145 a gallon in California, a jump of about 6 cents a gallon from a week ago in that part of the country.

Before this week, the highest average gasoline price recorded by the EIA was in May 2001, when motorists paid an average of $1.71 a gallon at pumps across the country.

The EIA noted that the current prices, if inflation were taken into account, might still be considered a bargain compared to what motorists paid 1981. Using today's dollars, gasoline cost an equivalent of $2.90 a gallon in March 1981 in the aftermath of the turmoil in oil supply caused by Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

The EIA is the statistical arm of the Energy Department.

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