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Decisive action on the part of the oil industry and the government caused the nationwide average price of gasoline to stabilize this week at near pre-terror attack levels, and a similar coordinated approach to America's gasoline needs will be required until the present crisis has eased, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) said yesterday.
"Preparations necessary for a response to last week's terrorist attack makes many Americans understandably nervous about future energy supplies and prices," said AAA President Bob Darbelnet. "However, last week's coordinated response by OPEC, U.S. oil companies and government agencies shows coordinated action can be extremely effective in calming public worry about this vital commodity."
AAA's monthly Fuel Gauge Report shows the nationwide average price of gasoline is $1.537 per gallon, up just four-tenths of a cent since September 11, when terrorists attacked the United States.
In the last month, average gas prices are up 14.4 cents per gallon, mainly due to a major refinery outage in the Midwest on August 14.
Following last week's attack, OPEC announced it would increase oil output if necessary to protect the world economy. Major oil companies held the line, or rolled back wholesale gasoline prices, while warning distributors and retailers to do the same.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suspended cleaner burning fuel requirements ahead of schedule to bring more gasoline into the market. The U.S. Department of Energy issued various public statements to help calm fears of fuel shortages and state governors vigorously tracked reports of price gouging and took legal action in a few cases.
"The combination of these actions made a tremendous difference at the nation's gas pumps and all involved should be congratulated on a job well done," Darbelnet said.
The nationwide average price of self-serve regular gasoline is down 4.3 cents per gallon from one year ago, AAA's Fuel Gauge Report shows. Regional gasoline prices are up across the country from one month ago.
Prices in the Great Lakes are up an average 33.5 cents per gallon in the last month from $1.42 to $1.755 today. In the Midwest, prices have moved up 28.2 cents per gallon from $1.41 to $1.692 per gallon.
In the West, prices are up an average 20.3 cents per gallon from $1.48 to $1.683. Southwestern prices are 18.8 cents higher from $1.33 to $1.518.
Prices increased an average 15.3 cents per gallon in the Southeast for the month from $1.28 per gallon to $1.433. Mid-Atlantic prices are 5.8 cents higher than a month ago, up from $1.41 per gallon to $1.468. In New England, gas prices increased just 0.2 cent per gallon from $1.46 to $1.462.
Nationwide, the price of self-serve, mid-grade averages $1.631 per gallon, an increase of 15.3 cents from last month, and down 4.7 cents from last year. Self-serve premium averages $1.69 per gallon, up 15.9 cents since mid-August, and 4.8 cents lower than one year ago.