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    Pump Prices Are at Six-Month Low

    Prices will rise first quarter next year, according to U.S. government.

    WASHINGTON -- Prices at gasoline pumps hit a six-month low last week, according to the U.S. government, Reuters reported. Average pump prices fell 1.4 cents to $1.476.

    The national gasoline price dropped 27 cents from a record high of almost $1.75 per gallon in August, the Reuters report stated. Cheaper gasoline prices can mean more money in consumers' pockets for spending on other items, and lower shipping costs for manufacturers.

    The Energy Information Administration in a separate report said it expected higher crude oil prices would raise the average cost of gasoline to $1.51 in the first quarter of 2004, according to the news report.

    The current national price for regular unleaded gasoline is still 12 cents higher than one year ago but at the lowest level since June 2, according to the report. The price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline fell 1.8 cents in the latest week to $1.549 per gallon, according to the EIA survey, Reuters reported.

    The West Coast reports the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with an average price of $1.63 per gallon, and the Gulf Coast states report the cheapest gas, at $1.387. Diesel is up slightly overall, to $1.481 per gallon, Reuters reported.

    In other news related to gasoline, New Jersey governor James McGreevey said he would not support a move to increase the state's gasoline tax, according to news reports. He spoke before the New Jersey Business and Industry Association in Woodbridge yesterday, and said the state's economic recovery was too tenuous to raise the tax, according to reports. New Jersey's tax is 14.5 cents per gallon, the fourth-lowest in the nation.

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