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Gas Prices In Inland Empire Reach Highest Level Since 2008

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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RIVERSIDE (CBS) — Gasoline in the Inland Empire has reached its highest price since July 2008, after rising for 19 consecutive days.

The average gallon of regular self-serve in the Inland Empire sells for $4.282 today, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price per gallon in Riverside and San Bernardino counties rose 50.8 cents over the past 19 days, including 4.8 cents on Saturday.

Analysts have attributed the increase in gasoline prices to rising oil prices which stem from fears of shortages because of elevated tensions in the Middle East over Iran’s nuclear program and speculation by investors.

They also point to the closure of some California refineries for maintenance, as well as a major fire at the Cherry Point refinery near Blaine, Wash., that will force its closure for at least three weeks, causing a reduction in supply.

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

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.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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