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Archive for Monday, August 27, 1990

GASOLINE PRICES STILL CLIMBING LOCALLY

August 27, 1990

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Local gasoline prices have gone up about 10 cents from what they were a week ago.

A spot check of service stations in Lawrence and Douglas County shows the price at the pump for regular unleaded gasoline was $1.29.9 in most cases. Last Tuesday, most self-service stations reported a price of $1.19.9.

Today's prices ranged from $1.27.9 at one self-service station to $1.49.9 at a full-service station.

Several service station operators said the bulk of the price increase occurred overnight late last week. However, Dave Abshear, spokesman for Amoco Oil's district office in Overland Park, said the company's prices to dealers rose gradually over a period of days.

HE SAID the price jumped 2.9 cents last Monday, 2.5 cents on Tuesday, 2 cents on Thursday, 1 cent on Friday and 3 cents on Saturday, for a total increase of 11.4 cents.

Abshear said the total price stands at 94.7 cents a gallon. Add the approximately 25.1 cents in taxes that dealers must pay on the gasoline, and the cost to them is about $1.19.8 a gallon, he said.

Abshear said that sometimes individual dealers are too busy to notice the price increases right away and don't change their pump prices immediately. Also, he said, local competition might encourage dealers to keep their pump prices down even though the cost to them has increased.

ALLAN MORRISS, owner-operator of Morriss Standard Service at 10th and Church in Eudora, said he had not increased his full-service price of $1.49.9 that he had a week ago. However, the cost to him went up about 2 cents a gallon.

"I decided to eat that up. Business has been pretty slow," he said.

Despite last week's rising gasoline prices, Abshear thinks they might start to stabilize.

"The market is less volatile than it was last week because of the peace overtures that started over the weekend between Saddam Hussein and the United Nations," he said.

According to the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation in New York, the average price for OPEC oil jumped to $29.18 a barrel on Friday from $25.73 a week before. Just before the invasion of Kuwait, OPEC oil was selling for about $17.25 a barrel, a foundation spokesman said.

And the October futures price of light, sweet crude dropped this morning by $3.23 to $27.68 a barrel as as traders got a sense that war is less of a threat in the Persian Gulf.

Unleaded gasoline futures fell by nearly 12 cents a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with home heating oil and natural gas prices also moving down.

``It's an easing of the tensions,'' said Ann-Louise Hittle, a senior oil analyst with Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. ``A change in psychology, too.''

DAN STEVENS, public affairs officer for Texaco's regional office in Tulsa, said his company had not passed along the full amount of that increase to its dealers.

He said that while this month's oil price increases translate to roughly 30 cents more per gallon, Texaco has raised its price to dealers by only 26.5 cents.

Stevens said he doubted that many retail dealers were involved in price gouging, even though the price increases occurred almost immediately after the Iraqi invasion and while reserves of lower-priced oil were still available.

"Gasoline is a fast-moving inventory, and the dealers are trying to keep up with replacement costs," he said. "If they don't maintain overhead, they're not going to be in business for very long."

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