Gas prices rise as Ike nears Texas

Gasoline prices jump 1.6 cents, rising for the first time in 10 days, as Hurrican Ike bears down on the Lone Star state.

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NEW YORK ( -- Gasoline prices rose for the first time in 10 days as Hurricane Ike bears down on the Texas coast, according to a nationwide survey of gas station credit card swipes.

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline rose 1.6 cents to $3.668 a gallon from $3.652 a day earlier, motorist group AAA said Wednesday. The last time gas prices rose was Aug. 31 as Hurricane Gustav forced workers to abandon offshore oil rigs ahead of that storm.

Forecasters are currently predicting Ike will hit Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a major Category 3 hurricane but the storm remains unpredictable.

Gas prices jumped 1.7 cents to $3.532 a gallon in Texas. Prices also popped higher in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and the Carolinas. Nationwide, Alaska and Hawaii remained the two states with gas prices still tracking above $4 a gallon.

The cheapest gas continues to be found in New Jersey, where prices averaged $3.421 a gallon. Crude prices have trended lower amid heightened concern about weakening demand and in reaction to the slew of storms and hurricanes.

Oil prices continue to hover around their lowest level in five months. On Tuesday, crude futures for October delivery tumbled more than $3 a barrel to $103.26 -- their lowest close since April 1.

Early Wednesday, prices were little changed at $103.30 as nervous investors awaited the government's latest reading on oil and gas supplies and following OPEC's announced production cuts.

Meanwhile, gas remains about 11%, or 44 cents, below the record high average of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, but they are still 85 cents above this time last year. To top of page

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