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U.S. Pump Price at Record High for This Day, AAA Says

Pump prices are at a record high for this time of year in the U.S. after refinery breakdowns tightened supply.

The $3.72-a-gallon average price of regular gasoline at U.S. retail stations is the highest for this day, and prices will likely continue breaking daily records for at least several more weeks, AAA said.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, has averaged about $3.72 for the past four days, according to data from the nation’s largest motoring organization. It’s the first time since April 23 that a national average in 2012 was the highest ever for the day, Michael Green, a spokesman for AAA in Washington, said in an e-mail.

Prices reached a year-to-date high of $3.936 on April 4, before sliding 61 cents to $3.326 on July 1. Since then refinery shutdowns and stronger Brent crude oil boosted prices 39.4 cents to the highest level since May 16, AAA data show.

Fuel prices gained after an Aug. 6 fire brought down the only crude unit at Chevron’s Richmond refinery near San Francisco, Northern California’s largest. BP Plc idled a coker at its 420,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Whiting, Indiana, from July 23 to Aug. 9 after a fire. Sunoco Inc.’s Philadelphia plant shut a fluid catalytic cracker from July 23 to Aug. 6 for repairs.

“There is some good news for drivers despite record-high gas prices,” Green said. “The national average price of gas has remained flat in recent days as refinery issues have stabilized in the Midwest and West Coast.”

The second-highest average for this day was on Aug. 20, 2008, when prices averaged $3.717 a gallon, AAA data show.

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