Gas prices hit highest amount since 2008

The 33rd consecutive daily increase on Monday pushed the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County to $4.316, its highest level since July 25, 2008.

The average price rose seven-tenths of a cent today and is 24.5 cents more than one week ago, 57.1 cents higher than a month ago and 56.8 cents greater than a year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

Analysts attribute the higher prices at the pump to rising oil prices, which stem from fears of shortages resulting from tensions in the Middle East over Iran’s nuclear program, and to speculation by investors. Additional factors include the closure of some California refineries for maintenance and a fire that will keep the Cherry Point refinery near Blaine, Wash., closed for at least three weeks.

The price of a barrel of benchmark West Texas intermediate crude for April delivery settled at $109.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, the highest since May 3. The price had been $96 earlier this month.

Crude oil costs account for two-thirds to three-quarters of the price of a gallon of gasoline, according to Tupper Hull of the Western States Petroleum Association, a trade association representing oil companies in six western states.

   
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