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Moving On Up

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Gas prices surged a record 14 cents over the last two weeks as several factors squeezed supply and raised demand, according to analyst Trilby Lundberg.

The average price per gallon for all grades was nearly $1.38, up more than 14.3 cents per gallon from March 8, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 convenience stores.

It was the largest cents-per-gallon increase since the survey began a half-century ago, and followed a nearly 9-cent-per-gallon increase over the two previous weeks, Lundberg said. The next-largest two-week jump was a 12.69-cent rise in April 2001.

Crude oil prices have continued to rise with an agreement by OPEC to maintain production cuts through June. U.S. oil inventories are down as refineries continue to perform maintenance to gear up for a seasonal rise in demand that is already beginning.

Refineries serving many urban areas also have to reduce the vapor pressure of their fuel every March to meet emissions requirements, Lundberg said.

Prices remain well below the $1.56 per gallon motorists were paying Sept. 9, and are about 9 cents lower than a year ago.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, was about $1.35 per gallon for regular, $1.44 for mid-grade and $1.53 for premium.
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