Leslie Turk

Ike spikes gasoline prices

by Leslie Turk

Gasoline prices increased yesterday as Hurricane Ike turned north, pushing toward the mass of refinery operations and offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Crude prices, however, continued to sink, a downward trend that reflects slowing global demand and the strengthening dollar -- making oil less attractive as a safe haven for investors.

Gasoline futures jumped 4.6 percent to $2.78 per gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and wholesale price for gasoline produced on the Gulf Coast jumped about 30 percent. The spike will almost certainly lead to higher pricesĀ at the pump.

Companies, including Exxon Mobil, Valero Energy, ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil, have halted refinery operations on the Texas coast, most in the Houston area.