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Gas prices shoot up
Survey: Average gallon up 7 cents in past three weeks on cold snap, new environmental standards.
January 11, 2004: 4:56 PM EST

ATLANTA (CNN) - The price of gasoline jumped 7 cents a gallon over the past three weeks, the biggest price hike since last February, a survey released Sunday found.

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline on Jan. 9 was $1.55, up from $1.48 on Dec. 19, the Lundberg Survey found.

Publisher Trilby Lundberg called it a "dramatic price turnaround."

During a two-week period in February, 2003, the price rose 7 cents a gallon due to decreased oil production amid the Venezuelan oil strike and an increase in demand stemming from the looming war in Iraq, she said.

But the current jump has less dramatic reasons, Lundberg said. Cold weather in the Northeast increased demand for crude oil, and Jan. 1 was a deadline for refineries to meet certain environmental standards -- at a cost that is passed on to consumers, Lundberg said.

Also, OPEC has raised crude oil prices, saying the weaker U.S. dollar brings member nations lower revenues because oil is traded in dollars, Lundberg said. At the same time, the economic recovery in the United States and other parts of the world has led to stepped-up demand, she said.

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In the coming weeks, Lundberg said, "it would not be unreasonable to expect a bit more of a hike at the pump," though price jumps in the near future would likely not be as big.

Prices have fallen since September, when the price of a gallon of self-serve regular averaged $1.72 nationwide, she said.

Price of a gallon of self-serve regular in some cities: Atlanta $1.47; Des Moines, Iowa $1.52; Washington $1.58; Minneapolis $1.62; Los Angeles $1.65; Hartford, Conn. $1.63  Top of page

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