Oil rises near $106 a barrel, gas up above $3.50 - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Oil rises near $106 a barrel, gas up above $3.50

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) - It's enough to make your head spin and empty out your wallet. The average price of regular gas in the U.S. has jumped 33 cents over the past two weeks.

It's the biggest such price increase on record. The Lundberg Survey says on Friday the average national price of a gallon of regular was $3.51.

In San Diego, the price got as high as $3.87. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained $1.45 Monday to $105.87 per barrel on the Nymex. The price almost hit $107 per barrel earlier in electronic trading, the highest since Sept. 26, 2008. In London, Brent crude added $1.64 to $117.61 per barrel.

The rise in oil is driving gasoline prices to levels that weren't expected for at least another month. Pump prices have jumped an average of 39 cents per gallon since the Libyan uprising began in mid-February.

The national average hit $3.509 per gallon overnight.

Now the White House says it's considering tapping into the 727-million barrel U-S strategic oil reserves. "It is something that only is done, has been done, on very rare occasions," William Daley/WH Chief of Staff said during an interview on Meet the Press/NBC.

Critics say the strategic oil reserve is for emergencies and this is not an emergency. One oil analyst said there's political pressure for the President to lower prices.

What do you think? Should the White House tap into the strategic oil reserve? Take our KTRE.com web poll.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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