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Gas Prices Jump

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Gasoline prices, which have risen steadily since February, jumped more than 8 cents in the past two weeks, analyst Trilby Lundberg said yesterday.

The average price per gallon for all grades and taxes was $1.46, up 8.44 cents per gallon from March 22, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 convenience stores nationwide. Since Feb. 8, prices at the pump have risen 32 cents.

"Continued crude-oil price strength accounts for more than half of that price increase," Lundberg said Sunday.

Nervousness among oil traders about the worsening crisis in the Middle East could also play a role in the higher prices, Lundberg added. Other factors pushing prices up include a seasonal increase in demand and an improving economy.

Despite two months of increases, gasoline prices are lower than they were at the same time last year, when gas cost $1.54 a gallon. The average price was 10 cents lower than pump prices on Sept. 7, just before the terrorist attacks Sept. 11. After the attacks, prices dropped to a low of about $1.12 in December.

The national average price of gasoline was about $1.43 per gallon for regular, $1.53 for mid-grade and $1.62 for premium.
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