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P.M. BRIEFING : U.S. Gasoline Output at 10-Year High

<i> From Times wire services</i>

U.S. gasoline production hit its highest level in more than a decade last week as supplies rose instead of falling as usually occurs at the start of the summer driving season, the American Petroleum Institute said.

For the week ended June 30, gasoline production rose sharply to 7.7 million barrels daily, up from the previous week’s 7.3 million barrels and much higher than year-ago output of 6.8 million barrels daily, the API reported. It was the highest level of production since the week ending Dec. 29, 1978, when production reached 7.9 million barrels daily, an API spokesman said.

At the same time, the API weekly statistical report showed gasoline supplies increased to 220.4 million barrels, up from 218.8 million barrels in the previous week and much higher than year-ago levels of 209.7 million barrels.

The statistics probably will put downward pressure on gasoline prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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