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Gasoline prices rise on report of lower supply

NEW YORK -- Gasoline futures rose yesterday after the United States reported a drop in inventories, adding to supply worries that are already heightened by political turmoil in Nigeria and Iran, two of the world's biggest oil producers.

Crude oil futures slipped from near-record highs as lowered refinery use has caused a backup in crude inventories.

The US Department of Energy reported gasoline inventories dropped 3.9 million barrels in the week ending April 7 to 207.9 million barrels -- down nearly 2 percent from year-ago levels. Meanwhile, US gasoline demand is higher, the report said, averaging 9.1 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, or 1.2 percent above a year ago.

Gas futures for May rose 3.67 cents to settle at $2.09 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. And light, sweet crude for May slipped 36 cents to settle at $68.62 a barrel.

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