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    Hurricane Hits LB At Gasoline Pump: LB-L.A. Aug. 31 Unleaded Averaging Approx. $2.823/Gal., Higher Grades Now $3.00+/Gal.

    (Aug. 31, 2005) -- As of this morning (Aug. 31) at 3:15 a.m., the American Automobile Association indicates unleaded gasoline in the L.A.-LB area is well into all time record territory, averaging $2.823/gallon for unleaded regular, $3.006 for midrange, $3.055 for premium and $3.124 for diesel.

    Some analysts blame Hurricane Katrina, which has paralyzed gulf coast oil refineries...although gasoline pump prices have been rising steadily for months along with the price of crude oil, past $50/barrel, past $60/barrel, now in the range of $70+/barrel.

    Yesterday, local unleaded was averaging roughly $2.798/gallon...and a month ago, it was $2.591/gallon. A year ago, local unleaded was roughly $2.103/gallon.

    As separately reported by Reuters (linked on our front page, upper right corner) at predawn this morning, the Bush administration announced it will release oil from the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset the effects of the Hurricane.

    [Here's a predawn version of the Reuters story which may be updated later.].

    As previously reported by, Californians continue to pay more than the national average for gasoline due in part to federal clean-air rules reformulated gasoline.

    Congress did not provide CA with a waiver of these rules (which had been unsuccessfully sought from the EPA by Gov. Schwarzenegger and former Governor Davis). Farm states (which grow corn for ethanol) opposed a complete waiver...and Congress ultimately provided CA with only partial relief in summer months.

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