Mideast tensions ease, but gasoline prices keep rising
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Crude prices fell again Monday as concerns that unrest in Egypt might spill over to the region’s major oil producers continued to ease. But motorists filling up at the pump found no relief as gasoline prices rose to their highest averages since October 2008.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California jumped 3.3 cents from last week to $3.397, according to the Energy Department’s weekly telephone survey of service stations. That’s 43.6 cents higher than it was during the same week last year. The state’s average hasn’t been that high since the $3.470 price recorded Oct. 13, 2008.
Nationally, the story was similar. The average rose 3.1 cents to $3.132 a gallon, 48 cents above the year-earlier price. It was the nation’s highest average since the $3.151 a gallon that was also recorded Oct. 13, 2008.
Truckers were also suffering from high fuel costs. Filling up a rig with diesel cost an average of $3.707 a gallon in California, the Energy Department said. That was up 9.5 cents from a week earlier and a whopping 78.7-cent rise from the same week last year. Nationally, diesel was $3.513 a gallon, up 7.5 cents from a week earlier and 74.4 cents from a year earlier.
Meanwhile, crude oil futures fell to the lowest level in a week, down $1.55 to settle at $87.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil on the NYMEX, based on West Texas Intermediate crude, has fallen more than 5% in the last five days.
The other major measure for oil traders, Brent crude, fell 58 cents to close at $99.25 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
-- Ronald D. White