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High Oil Prices Not Discouraging Use

The skyrocketing price of crude is not putting a dent in local demand for oil and gas, according to a recent report by the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE).

Total consumption increased by 4.15 percent in the first quarter of 2008, rising from 6.6 million barrels in 2007 to 6.8 million barrels this year.

RECOPE estimates total petroleum imports for 2008 will also rise by 6.5 percent this year to a new record of 19.6 million barrels. In 2007, the refinery imported a then-record 18.4 million barrels.

The price tag for such an increase could be painful. Market analysts predict the price of oil will average between $150 and $200 by the end of this year.

Oil was trading at $124 on Monday. It sold at less than half that price this time last year, at $62 a barrel.

Several factors play into the climbing price of crude. Analysts point to the weak dollar, geopolitical problems in Nigeria and Iran, and increased consumption by rapidly developing economies in India and China.

Costa Ricans are already feeling the squeeze at the pump. As of last Saturday, the Public Services Regulatory Authority started an across-the-board gas price hike.

Regular went up 16 colones (a little over 3 U.S. cents) per liter, super went up ¢20 (4 cents) and diesel by ¢31.

That means the price of super will go from ¢601 ($1.21) a liter to ¢621 ($1.25); regular will go from ¢588 to ¢618; and diesel from ¢556 to ¢587.

These prices could rise again next month after a bid by RECOPE to push the price of regular gas up another ¢40 on top of the regulatory authority’s rate, the daily La Nación reported.



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