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Gas exceeds $4 in four states, D.C.

NEW YORK — Gasoline is now more than $4 per gallon in four states and Washington, D.C., as a three-month surge in pump prices continues.

The nation’s capital, Illinois, California, Alaska and Hawaii all had average gas prices above $4 on Wednesday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Prices in several other states, including Oregon, Connecticut, New York and Washington, are almost there.

Nationwide, gasoline has soared by nearly 54 cents this year to an average of $3.81 per gallon.

Prices are rising as service stations pass along the higher cost of crude. Benchmark oil prices have risen by nearly 8 percent since January. Oil accounts for about three-quarters of the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline, according to the government.

Pump prices also tend to jump this time of year as gasoline suppliers sell off their remaining stocks to make room for a different grade of gasoline required in the summer. The seasonal switch causes a temporary supply dip.

In other news

A SLIGHT DROP in exports and a rise in imports widened the broadest measure of the U.S. trade deficit at the end of last year. The increase pushed the gap to its widest point in three years. The Commerce Department says the current account trade deficit increased
15.3 percent in the October-De­cember quarter, to
$124.1 bil­lion.

U.S. COMMUNITY banks are gaining strength even though the economy is improving only moderately, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday.

REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC.,
the second-biggest U.S. tobacco company, said Wednesday that it will eliminate about 10 percent of its workforce, or about 540 jobs, by the end of 2014.

– Associated Press


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