Ninth straight day of price increase

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Pump prices are going up around the Southland, and one analyst says it may be the start of a long upward climb.

The ninth consecutive daily increase pushed the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County on Thursday to its highest amount since Oct. 19, 2008.

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The increase of a half-cent boosted the average price to $3.308, which is 3.9 cents more than a week ago, 17.7 cents more than a month ago and 34.5 cents more than this time last year, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

KNX 1070’s Chris Sedens reports.

The average price rose four-tenths of a cent Dec. 22; eight-tenths of a cent on last Thursday; 1 cent on Friday; six-tenths of a cent on Saturday; a half-cent on Sunday; one-tenth of a cent on Monday; a half-cent on Tuesday; and seven-tenths of a cent on Wednesday.

The Orange County average also rose today for the ninth consecutive day, increasing six-tenths of a cent to $3.306 — the highest price since Oct. 17, 2008.

Ex-president of Shell Oil John Hofmeister predicts five-dollars a gallon by 2012.

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The Orange County average price is 3.4 cents more than a week ago, 17.7 cents more than a month ago and 34.9 cents more than this time last year.

Analysts attribute the higher prices to increasing crude oil prices.

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

Analysts say the higher oil prices are the result of anticipated increased demand because of an improved economy, demonstrated by five consecutive months of increased consumer spending.

The price of a barrel of benchmark crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled at its highest point since Oct. 3, 2008 last Thursday, $91.51 on the final day of pre-Christmas trading. The price ended at $91.12 on Wednesday.

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