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Gas prices increase for 10th week

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PROVIDENCE – Gasoline prices in Rhode Island climbed another 3 cents this week, the 10th consecutive week of increases, AAA Southern New England said Monday.

The auto club’s March 5 survey said the average price of regular, self-serve gasoline reached $3.81. In Massachusetts it was $3.74 and nationally, $3.77.

Prices at the pump in the Ocean State have risen 22 cents during the last month. On Monday, they ranged from $3.72 to $3.91. A year ago, the average price for regular gas was $3.52.

According to Bloomberg News, gasoline declined along with equities and commodities as U.S. factory orders sank and China cut its economic growth outlook, raising concern about the global economy and fuel demand.

Futures fell as bookings to U.S. factories decreased in January for the first time in three months, figures from the Commerce Department showed Monday. China pared the nation’s growth target to 7.5 percent from an 8 percent goal in place since 2005. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.6 percent at 1:14 a.m. in New York.

“We’ve still got an Iran premium in the market, but we’re fluctuating on low volume and cautiously off a little with equities,” said Fred Rigolini, vice president of Paramount Options Inc. in New York.

Gasoline for April delivery fell 1.14 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.2607 a gallon at 11:14 a.m. Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after gaining 3.8 percent last week.

The S&P’s GSCI Index of commodities dropped 0.2 percent at 11:14 a.m. in New York.

Heating oil rose along with Brent crude and European gasoil as President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed into their meeting Monday in Washington over how to confront the issue, Bloomberg said.

At service stations in Rhode Island this week, the survey found average self-serve prices of $3.94 per gallon for midgrade unleaded, $4.06 for premium unleaded gasoline and $4.21 for diesel.

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