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Higher demand for crude oil helped push gasoline prices to their highest US levels in 18 months. According to a California-based Lundberg survey, the average price of gasoline at the pump has risen more than 5 cents to $1.267 cents a gallon nationally since early July. Since February, when the average price dipped below $1, prices have risen 26.9 cents a gallon. Crude-oil prices have jumped worldwide since production cuts were announced by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other big producers in February. Motorists on the US West Coast have been hit especially hard because a series of refinery explosions created a shortage.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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