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Gas Price Hits Record $1.941 per Gallon

May 18, 2004

U.S. consumers will pay even more to fill up their automobiles as the average national price for a gallon of gasoline rose nearly 10 cents in recent weeks to a record high of $1.941 per gallon, the U.S. government said, according to Reuters. Pump prices are up 45 cents from one year ago, according to a weekly survey of more than 800 service stations by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Strong demand for gasoline, tight petroleum supplies, and high crude oil costs have sent fuel prices rising in recent months. "It's not unexpected that we've seen prices increase," said Jonathan Cogan, a spokesman for the EIA told Reuters. "And we don't expect this is the end." When adjusted for inflation in 2004 dollars, the highest U.S. average retail gasoline price was $2.99 a gallon in March 1981, the EIA said. The Bush administration said it welcomed a proposal by Saudi Arabia for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to boost its crude oil production by about 6 percent, or 1.5 million barrels per day. Kuwait, another OPEC member, said it supported such a move. U.S. crude oil futures for June delivery tumbled by $1 to $38.93 per barrel on the Saudi announcement. During the first week of May, U.S. crude oil briefly hit $40 a barrel for the first time since 1990 on concerns over security in the Middle East and tight U.S. gasoline supplies. The EIA's weekly gasoline report in early May showed the average U.S. pump price was the highest on the West Coast, where prices rose 11.7 cents to an average of $2.220 per gallon. The U.S. Gulf Coast had the cheapest gasoline, rising 9.0 cents to $1.818 a gallon. Among the 10 major urban areas highlighted by the EIA, Houston pump prices were the cheapest at $1.783 per gallon, up 9.7 cents. San Francisco was the most expensive city as prices rose 11.1 cents to $2.237 per gallon. The national price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, sold at about one-third of the gas stations in cities and smoggier areas, rose 10.4 cents to $2.017 a gallon. U.S. diesel prices rose 2.8 cents to an average $1.745 per gallon in early May, the EIA said. The average cost for a gallon of diesel is 30.1 cents per gallon more expensive than one year ago.
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