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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Rising natural gas prices and dipping temperatures in the United States will result in an average five-cent hike at base pumps in South Korea and Guam, officials said Friday.

New prices take effect Sunday, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service spokesman said.

In South Korea, the price for unleaded fuel at AAFES gas stations will be $1.58 per gallon, up from $1.53 in January. The price for premium-unleaded will be $1.78 per gallon, up from $1.73; diesel fuel prices will jump to $1.58 per gallon from $1.53.

In Guam, unleaded fuel will jump to $1.59 per gallon from $1.55; premium unleaded will be $1.79 per gallon, up from $1.74.

“Gas prices, as a whole, have been on the rise since the beginning of 2004. Crude-oil prices and cold weather in many parts of the country have contributed to the rising price at the pump,” AAFES said in a statement explaining the new prices.

AAFES’ South Korea and Guam gas prices are adjusted each month, based on U.S. Department of Energy averages from the previous four weeks.

On Friday, an off-post Seoul gas station sold unleaded gas for $4.30 per gallon. Diesel was $2.85 per gallon.

The government said U.S. oil inventories, already at their lowest point since 1975, dropped by another 5 million barrels last week due to increased demand. A leading industry analyst in California said stateside gas prices jumped nearly 10 cents in the past two weeks and would likely rise an additional 16 cents by April.

Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the nationwide Lundberg Survey, attributed the rise to higher crude oil costs and increased winter demand. The survey said the national weighted average price of gasoline Jan. 23 was $1.62 for regular, $1.72 for mid-grade and $1.81 for premium.


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