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Published: Friday, 3/18/2005

Toledo-area gas prices hit another record high

BLADE STAFF

Toledo-area gasoline prices bounded to another record high yesterday, reaching $2.199 a gallon for self-service unleaded regular at many locations and exceeding that, at least briefly, at some.

It was the second-straight Thursday that local prices reached an all-time high. Last week, local prices reached $2.159 at many stations for the first time, eclipsing a record that was set in May.

During the ensuing week, pump prices gradually declined, as is typical in the Toledo area. Before the latest spike yesterday, regular at many locations fell to within a few cents either side of $2 a gallon.

Complete price survey information was not available as of yesterday afternoon, but the volunteer-supported Toledogasprices.com Web site reported a price of $2.239 at a Sunoco station on the southwest side of Monroe yesterday afternoon.

The Sunoco station at the Anthony Wayne Trail and Detroit Avenue also was at $2.239 yesterday afternoon.

All other stations on its Toledo-area "highest prices" list as of early evening were charging $2.199 a gallon for regular.

A report issued Wednesday by the federal Energy Information Administration suggested motorists shouldn't expect lower prices any time soon. It predicted a nationwide average price of $2.15 per gallon for regular this spring, with higher peaks possible at times.

The recent price run-up has followed similar increases in the world price of crude oil, which has climbed $15 per barrel so far this year.

Yesterday, light sweet crude for April delivery rose to a new intraday high of $57.60 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before retreating to settle at $56.40, a decline of 6 cents that traders attributed to profit-taking.

While the price of oil is about 50 percent higher than a year ago, crude futures would have to climb above $90 a barrel to approach the all-time inflation-adjusted high set in 1980. Analysts have noted as well that current pump prices, while records in raw dollar terms, would fall short of prices from 25 years ago once inflation is factored in.



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