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    Gas Prices Up

    Increase marks first spike in three months.

    Gas prices rose more than 6 cents a gallon nationwide in the past two weeks, the first increase in three months, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.

    The average price of gasoline, including all grades and taxes, was $1.51, up 6.25 cents since Aug. 10. The price increase was attributed to the shutdown of several refineries for repairs and maintenance, as well as a dwindling inventory of U.S. motor gasoline stocks, said analyst Trilby Lundberg.

    " It's not very surprising considering the phenomenal price crash of three months duration during the time of our greatest consumption," Lundberg said. " It had to end sometime."

    Prices had been declining steadily since peaking on May 18 at $1.76. They bottomed out two weeks ago at $1.45. The summer-long decrease was the result of refiners overproducing to avoid shortages during the summer driving season, according to Lundberg.

    Prices overall remained lower nationwide than a year ago. On Aug 25, 2000, the average price for a gallon of gas, including all grades and taxes, was $1.55.

    The greatest price increases in the past two weeks were in the Midwest, where prices rose 21 cents a gallon overall and as much as 29 cents in some places, including Omaha, Neb., and Milwaukee. The average price for a gallon of self-serve regular on Friday in the Midwest was $1.63.

    Prices continued to decline in some places, Lundberg said. Prices fell a nickel overall in the west, to $1.50 per gallon.

    The national price of gasoline, including taxes was approximately $1.47 a gallon for regular unleaded, $1.57 for mid-grade and $1.66 for premium. At full-serve pumps, the average was about $1.88 for regular unleaded, $1.98 for mid-grade and $2.06 for premium.

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