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28

U.S. Gasoline Rose to 2month High

U.S. gasoline at the pump rose 5.1 cents to a two-month high

U.S. gasoline at the pump rose 5.1 cents during the past week to a two-month high of $2.297 a gallon, a government report showed Monday.

The average nationwide retail price for regular-grade gasoline is the highest since $2.31 a gallon on Oct. 2, and is up 7 percent from $2.147 a year ago, according to the report from the Energy Department in Washington. In Houston, the average price rose to $2.12 a gallon, up from $2.06.

Gasoline at the pump has increased as refiners passed along higher costs for crude oil, which in the U.S. accounts for about 58 percent of the retail price of the fuel.

Crude futures surged 7.1 percent last week on the New York Mercantile Exchange, reaching $63.43 a barrel on Friday, the highest price since Sept. 18. Oil fell 99 cents to $62.44 Monday.

Traders Monday focused on a halt in the dollar's decline, weak manufacturing data and expectations of mild weather next week, which sent natural gas and heating oil futures sharply lower, too.

"We're into that part of the year where it really is a weather market," said Aaron Kildow, a broker at Prudential Financial in New York. The market may have ignored OPEC on Monday, but that may not last, Kildow said.

Recent comments from key members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries suggest the cartel will push for further cuts in output when it meets Dec. 14, in Nigeria, and Kildow said he could see oil prices rising as high as $70 this winter.

OPEC is expected to address the need to sharply accelerate oil production cuts they have implemented to stem an oversupply, seen mainly in the bulging inventories of the wealthiest industrialized nations.