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State Pump Prices Jump 7.5 Cents a Gallon

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

California’s average gasoline price jumped 7.5 cents to a record $2.402 a gallon, and the U.S. average rose above $2 for the first time since June, the Energy Department said Monday.

Pump prices have surged as oil rallied after Hurricane Ivan tore through the Gulf of Mexico in mid-September, toppling production platforms and shutting refineries. U.S. light crude slid $1.26 to close Monday at $53.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting a fresh peak of $55.33 a barrel in electronic overnight trading.

The California average price for self-serve regular gasoline has risen 30.8 cents a gallon in the last three weeks, according to a weekly survey by the Energy Information Administration.

The national price for self-serve regular increased 4.2 cents over the last week to $2.035 a gallon, up 46 cents from a year ago, the EIA said. The U.S. record, not adjusted for inflation, is $2.064 a gallon, reached May 24.

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The U.S. average price of diesel fuel also set a record, rising 8.8 cents to $2.18 a gallon.

Higher costs for gasoline, heating oil and other forms of energy may crimp demand and hurt economic growth, analysts said. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. cut its growth forecasts for the U.S., Europe, Japan and the global economy in the fourth quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of next year because of “persistently high oil prices.”


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