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BLOOMINGTON - The volatile gas market continued its rollercoaster ride through the Twin Cities Tuesday, as the cost of unleaded gas jumped about 30 cents.

Rebel attacks in Nigeria pounded crude oil imports to the United States, sparking a 2.4 percent increase to the cost of crude oil. Crude oil increased $1.42 Tuesday, to $61.30 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"Also, ethanol is exploding in price, and most of our gas has ethanol in it," said Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association. "Ethanol is up a nickel to 7 cents a gallon right now."

In Bloomington-Normal Tuesday afternoon, unleaded gasoline cost around $2.39 a gallon, up from $2.08 on Monday. Diesel prices ranged from $2.50 to $2.60 per gallon.

The average price statewide was $2.25 per gallon Tuesday morning, according to AAA-Chicago Motor Club. Nationwide costs varied from $2.08 per gallon in South Carolina to $2.78 per gallon in Hawaii.

For several months, Twin City gasoline has cost about $2.50 per gallon when crude oil prices are around $63 per barrel. According to the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for April delivery is expected to cost $62.45 per barrel.

The Energy Information Administration in Washington, D.C., also expects Twin City gasoline prices to hover around $2.50 per gallon in the coming months.

While declining crude oil imports hiked up the cost of gas, President George Bush this week continued a tour that called for Americans to reduce their dependence on foreign oil.

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