The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Gas Prices Still Soaring

August 26, 2003

The recent blackout on the East Coast and in the Midwest, which temporarily closed refineries; and a broken pipeline in Arizona, which cut off 30 percent of Phoenix’s supply, have led to record-breaking price jumps at the gas pump. However, according to analyst Trilby Lundberg, with both crises now resolved, gas prices should start falling after Labor Day weekend.

The average retail price for a gallon of gas skyrocketed to more than 15 cents nationwide over the past two weeks, the largest two-week jump since the Lundberg Survey began keeping track 50 years ago. The survey of 8,000 service stations showed the average of all grades of gasoline, including taxes, have reached nearly $1.75 per gallon, just short of the survey’s all-time high of $1.76, set March 21, 2003. The cheapest gas in the U.S. is in Charleston, SC, averaging $1.49 per gallon. The average cost per gallon in California is $2.10, up 18 cents. Los Angeles had the sharpest rise, up 21.9 cents to $2.14 per gallon of self-serve regular, followed by New York, Chicago, and Boston, up more than 16 cents.

In mid-August, mechanical problems struck four California refineries, causing statewide production to drop by 10 percent at one point, said Claudia Chandler, assistant executive director of the California Energy Commission. There were also problems at a Washington refinery that sometimes sends fuel supplies to California. Following the pipeline failure in Arizona, California sent gasoline east to ease the burden, causing prices to boost in the Golden State.

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