Retail Gas Prices Hit All-Time Highs
— The Lundberg Survey has reported that damage to Gulf Coast refineries and pipelines by Hurricane Katrina pushed retail gas prices to historic highs in the past two weeks, with self-serve regular averaging more than $3 a gallon for the first time ever, according to the Associated Press. The semi-monthly Lundberg Survey provides data from 7,000 gas stations around the country.The weighted average price for all three grades surged more than 38 cents to nearly $3.04 a gallon between Aug. 26 and Sept. 9. Self-serve regular averaged $3.01 a gallon nationwide, according to the survey. Midgrade was pegged at about $3.11, while premium-grade was at nearly $3.21.The spike occurred despite declines in the cost of crude oil in recent weeks. The hurricane decimated refineries along the Gulf Coast, cutting 11 percent of the nation’s refining capacity for all petroleum products and shutting down essential pipelines to the East Coast and elsewhere, according to the Associated Press.Lundberg said prices could drop sharply in the coming weeks by 10 cents or more as gasoline imports flow in and demand eases with the traditional September drop-off, fewer drivers in storm-stricken areas, and other consumers limiting trips to the pump.