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    Southeast Hit with Rising Gas Prices

    However, as more refineries come online, national gas price average drops.

    NEW YORK -- Motorists in the Southeastern U.S. are still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Ike, as gas prices continue to spike at locations that have not run dry due to extensive fuel shortages in the region.

    According to the Tennessee Oil Marketers Association, roughly 70 percent of Nashville’s gas stations are out of gasoline. In Georgia, which operates one small refinery, a gallon of regular gas sold at $3.976, more than 30 cents higher since Ike hit land on Sept. 13, according to data from auto club AAA. Consumers in North Carolina paid $3.934 for a gallon, 25 cents higher than before Ike, reported The Wall Street Journal.

    Across the country, gasoline prices remain above pre-hurricane levels, but have been dropping since the storm hit. The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline slid a few cents Monday to $3.739, about six cents above pre-Ike levels, the paper reported.

    According to the Department of Energy, more than 10 percent of the country’s refining capacity is still out of commission, with nine refineries shut from the storm, which account for 2.3 million barrels per day in refinery capacity.

    With limited operational refineries, the pipelines that ship products from the Gulf Coast to Eastern states are operating at reduced levels, Joe Hollier, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, told the paper.

    "If it’s there, we’ll move it," Hollier told the paper.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. average retail price for gasoline fell 11.7 cents over the last week to $3.72 a gallon, as more oil refineries and fuel pipelines resumed operations, reported Reuters.

    While motorists are seeing some relief at the pumps, the national price for regular unleaded gasoline is still 91 cents higher than the same time last year.

    Chicago had the highest city price at $4.05, down 24.4 cents, while the New England states had the lowest regional price at $3.60 a gallon, down 5.4 cents, reported Reuters.

    The average price for diesel fuel declined 6.5 cents to $3.96 a gallon, falling below $4 on a national level for the first time since April 7, but still up 93 cents from a year earlier, reported Reuters.

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