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Survey: Gasoline prices keep rising


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GAS PRICES
Average price of a gallon of self-serve regular in selected cities:

Atlanta, Georgia: $1.56
Baltimore, Maryland: $1.64
Chicago, Illinois: $1.79
New Orleans, Louisiana: $1.54
Salt Lake City, Utah: $1.61
San Diego, California: $1.92

Source: Lundberg Survey
 
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(CNN) -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States jumped nearly 4 cents over the past three weeks, the result of higher prices for crude oil and the cost to refiners of meeting new environmental regulations, a survey said.

The Lundberg Survey found the average price per gallon of self-serve regular was $1.66, a 3.6-cent increase since January 23.

Gas prices have been rising since late December as the price of oil has increased and a recovering U.S. economy has boosted demand, said Trilby Lundberg, the survey's publisher.

Lundberg predicted gas prices will continue their upward climb as demand for gasoline rises in the spring and summer.

In addition, refiners have been required since January 1 to reduce the amount of sulfur in the gasoline they produce. And New York, California and Connecticut have required that the additive MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether, be replaced with more expensive ethanol to reduce pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency warned last fall that MTBE, deemed a potential human carcinogen at high doses, is in groundwater.

In addition, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced last week it will cut production by 1 million barrels per day -- about 4 percent -- starting April 1. But oil ministers said that decision could be changed when OPEC meets March 31.

The survey's forecast of continuing price spikes is based on a report posted Sunday on its Web site.

The lowest prices in the survey of about 7,000 gas stations found drivers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, paid the least -- an average $1.42 per gallon, Lundberg said. Drivers in Honolulu, Hawaii, paid the most, with a gallon of self-serve regular selling for an average $1.99.


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