Analysts cite two reasons for the rise in gasoline prices: exports draining U.S. fuel supplies and an increase in global tensions.

By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
January 10, 2012

Retail gasoline prices jumped higher over the last week in California and most of the nation, adding to what was already a record start for a new year.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California rose 7.2 cents to $3.707, shattering the old record for this time of year: $3.332 a gallon, set last year, according to the Energy Department’s weekly survey of filling stations.

The U.S. average rose 8.3 cents to $3.382. That easily surpassed the old record for this time of year: $3.089 a gallon, also set last year.

Analysts cited two reasons for the rising prices: exports draining U.S. fuel supplies and an increase in global tensions.

The Energy Department said in a report Monday that “weekly U.S. gross distillate export estimates (bound primarily for European and South American markets), were at record levels in the fourth quarter of 2011, topping more than 900,000 barrels a day in October and November and exceeding 1 million barrels a day in December.”

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