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Gasoline prices turn higher

September 21, 2004
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline prices increased for the first time in four weeks, as higher crude oil costs were apparently passed on to consumers at the pump, the government said on Monday.

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline jumped 2 cents over the last week to $1.866 a gallon. That is up 22 cents from a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly survey of service stations.

Gasoline prices normally decline in September after the end of the busy U.S. summer driving season.

However, the higher pump price reflects a rise in crude oil costs over the last two weeks due to disruptions in oil imports caused by back-to-back hurricanes and falling U.S. petroleum inventories.

The price of crude oil accounts for about half the cost of making gasoline.

The report also showed the retail price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, sold in polluted metropolitan areas, rose 0.7 cent to $1.922 a gallon.

The West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the price up almost a penny to $2.034 a gallon. San Francisco topped the agency's city survey of gasoline costs, with the price down 0.2 cent to $2.085 a gallon.

The U.S. Gulf Coast had the cheapest fuel, with the price up 1.3 cents to $1.757 per gallon. Houston had the cheapest pump price at $1.713 a gallon, up 0.4 cent.

The weekly report also showed gasoline prices were up half a penny to $1.987 in Seattle, down 0.2 cent to $1.922 in Miami, up 3.4 cents to $1.92 in Chicago, down 1.7 cents to $1.895 in New York City and up 5.9 cents to $1.875 in Cleveland.

Separately, the EIA survey said the average pump price for diesel fuel increased 3.8 cents to $1.912 a gallon, up 47 cents from a year earlier.

Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $2.088 a gallon, up 4.8 cents from the prior week. Both the Gulf Coast states and the lower Atlantic states had the cheapest diesel at $1.826 a gallon, with the price up 4.2 cents and 3.9 cents, respectively, in each region.

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