Gas Prices Rise on Strike, Refinery Outage

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Gas Prices
Matt Rourke/AP
By Tom Brown

NEW YORK -- The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 13 cents in the past two weeks, bringing it up 26 cents since prices bottomed out after a nine-month slide ended in January, according to the Lundberg survey released Sunday.

Regular grade gasoline rose to an average price of $2.33 a gallon, according to the biweekly survey dated Feb. 20, up from the previous survey on Feb. 6.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-It was dropping dramatically for nine months straight and then it hit bottom, and now it's up 26 cents...%Gasoline is down $1.08 a gallon from the same year-ago period, and there is no shortage of gasoline, said survey publisher Trilby Lundberg in Camarillo, California.

"It was dropping dramatically for nine months straight and then it hit bottom, and now it's up 26 cents since then, the latest being 13 cents the past two weeks," Lundberg said.

The highest-priced gasoline in the survey area of the 48 contiguous U.S. states was in Los Angeles at $2.91 a gallon. The lowest price was in Salt Lake City at $1.91 a gallon.

A steelworkers' strike and a refinery explosion Wednesday at an Exxon Mobil (XOM) plant in Torrance, California, helped push gasoline prices higher, Lundberg said.

The largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years entered its fourth week as workers at 12 refineries accounting for one-fifth of U.S. production capacity walked picket lines Sunday, union officials said.

The explosion halted production at the Exxon Mobil refinery, a plant manager said Friday, raising the possibility of higher fuel prices in parts of Southern California.
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