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Oil Prices Close Above Record $100 A Barrel-Pump Prices Jump To $3 A Gallon

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02/19/2008 03:44 PM
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Oil Prices Close Above Record $100 A Barrel-Pump Prices Jump To $3 A Gallon
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NEW YORK -- Crude oil futures prices ended higher and at a new record on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The near-month contract for the benchmark grade rose $4.51 -- closing at $100.01 a barrel.

A weekend refinery explosion in Texas and the possibility that OPEC will cut production next month are driving prices higher, although analysts said there isn't a single factor to explain the move.

Oil prices are still within the range of inflation-adjusted highs set in early 1980. Depending on how the adjustment is calculated, $38 a barrel then would be worth $96 to $103 or more Tuesday.

Retail gas prices, meanwhile, jumped 1.8 cents to a national average price of $3.032 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Retail prices, which typically lag the futures market, are following oil prices higher. The Energy Department expects gas prices to peak near $3.40 a gallon this spring.

The refinery in Big Spring, Texas is owned by Alon USA. It processes nearly 70,000 barrels of oil a day. Officials said it could be closed for as long as two months.

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