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U.S. Retail Gasoline Rises as Diesel Sets Record

October 7, 2004
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Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The average U.S. retail price for regular-grade gasoline rose 2.1 cents the past week to $1.938 a gallon, the highest in almost four months, the government said. Retail diesel jumped 4.1 cents to a record $2.053.

The gasoline increase was led by California and other states on the West Coast, where retail prices climbed 8 cents on average to $2.146 a gallon, the U.S. Energy Department said in a weekly report. East Coast gasoline gained 2.3 cents to $1.921, and prices near the Gulf of Mexico rose 1.4 cents to $1.838.

Gasoline prices have surged the past three weeks after Hurricane Ivan sank oil production platforms, delayed tanker shipments and forced refineries to shut when it tore through the Gulf of Mexico last month. Gasoline has also risen with oil prices, which last week topped $50 a barrel for the first time.

Crude oil for November delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange today traded at $49.91 a barrel after rising Friday to $50.12, the highest settlement since trading in the contract began in 1983. Oil, which makes up more than two-fifths of the U.S. retail price of gasoline, has rallied 53 percent this year.

The latest gasoline price, the highest since $1.985 on June 14, is up 31 percent this year. It's still down from a record $2.064 in late May, as higher imports and domestic refinery production boosted U.S. fuel reserves above normal in the summer.

The latest U.S. diesel average of $2.053 a gallon was a record for the third consecutive week, the Energy Department said. The price has risen 18.4 cents, or 9.8 percent, the past four weeks, and is up 60.8 cents, or 42 percent, from a year ago.

The Energy Department's price averages are based on a survey of about 800 filling stations in 50 states.

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