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Gulf Gasoline at Two-Month High as Drivers Boost Demand

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Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Gasoline strengthened to the highest level in two months on the U.S. Gulf Coast as drivers returned to work after the holiday, increasing demand for the motor fuel.

“People are returning from vacation and the holiday season and are beginning to get out and do business again,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LP in Houston, said by telephone. “Things are naturally a little stronger.”

Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline gained 2.63 cents to 4.5 cents below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:57 p.m., the smallest gap since Oct. 15. Conventional gasoline to be blended with ethanol, or CBOB, gained 3.75 cents to a discount of 12 cents a gallon.

Demand for gasoline in the U.S. was 8.61 million barrels a day in the week ended Dec. 21, the lowest level for this time of year in at least 10 years, Energy Department data showed. Demand for distillate products including diesel fuel and heating oil was 3.71 million barrels.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in the Gulf gained 1.25 cents to 2 cents below heating oil futures.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net