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Gasoline prices increased sharply across the U.S. over the last two weeks, according to a survey of more than 7,000 filling stations, the Lundberg Survey reported to CNN.COM.
Motorists, on average, saw gas prices jump 11 cents a gallon higher the last two weeks to a national average of $1.60 a gallon for self-serve regular, the highest level since June 2001, Publisher Trilby Lundberg said.
The cheapest gas was found in the Phoenix metro area, averaging $1.44 a gallon, while the most expensive was in the San Francisco Bay Area, averaging $1.82 a gallon.
Des Moines, Iowa, possibly had the biggest increase during the recently completed two-week period, 21 cents a gallon, to an average of $1.59 a gallon.
Lundberg told CNN.COM the reasons for the higher gas prices are obvious: worries about a war against Iraq and political turmoil in Venezuela, a major supplier for crude oil to the U.S.
Cold weather in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic also increased the demand for home heating oil, which contributed to the higher fuel pump prices, Lundberg added.
The higher gas prices are a concern to the RV industry because they have a negative impact on consumer confidence. Sharp increases in prices at the fuel pump during the spring of 2000 pushed the RV industry into a recession, from which it didn’t recover until 2002.
However, at least during January, retail sales of RVs at consumer shows around the country were described by several RV industry executives as “resilient.”