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GASOLINE PRICES DIP 2 CENTS AS TERROR ATTACKS CUT DEMAND

Gasoline prices fell about 2 cents during the past two weeks because of oil industry restraint and weak demand following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, according to the Lundberg survey.

"People are not just canceling air travel, but travel period," said analyst Trilby Lundberg. "The past several days of shock have grounded many customers."

The average price of gasoline on Friday, including all grades and taxes, was $1.54 a gallon, down 2.29 cents since Sept. 7, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.

It was the first drop in prices in a month.

The attacks' effects on the economy and lower gas consumption during fall and winter could keep prices falling unless crude oil supplies change, Lundberg said.

After reaching record unadjusted highs in May, gas prices fell nearly 32 cents over the summer before rising again in late August and early September. The summer-long decrease was the result of refiners overproducing to avoid shortages during the summer driving season, Lundberg said.

The national weighted average price of gasoline, including taxes, at self-serve pumps Friday was about $1.51 a gallon for regular unleaded, $1.61 for mid-grade and $1.70 for premium.

Costs soar for recovering
fishing boat sunk by U.S. sub

HONOLULU (AP) -- The cost of trying to recover a Japanese fishing vessel that was sunk by a U.S. submarine last winter has already reached $60 million, well over the $40 million initially expected, the Navy said.

Heavy seas and engineering challenges contributed to the increased cost of the operation, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said Saturday. Officials could not estimate how much more the operation would cost.

The effort to raise the Ehime Maru from its resting place 2,000 feet below the ocean's surface and tow it to shallower water had been expected to be completed by mid-September.

But the Navy said Friday that the operation probably won't be finished until later next month. Towing the Ehime Maru from where it went down nine miles south of Diamond Head to shallower water off Honolulu International Airport would allow divers to search the vessel for bodies.

Nine people, four of them teenagers, were killed when the USS Greeneville struck the 190-foot high school fisheries vessel Feb. 9. Twenty-six others aboard the boat were rescued.

Woman killed in fall
from amusement park ride

BUENA PARK, Calif. (AP) -- A woman died after falling out of a ride at Knott's Berry Farm theme park, officials said Saturday.

Lori Mason-Larez, 40, died of extensive injuries, said Bruce Lyle, supervising deputy of the Orange County coroner's office. Park spokeswoman Susan Tierney said Mason-Larez fell from the ride Friday even though her seat belt and lap bar "were in their correct and locked position."

The ride, a combination roller coaster and water slide called the "Perilous Plunge," was closed during the weekend, and officials were investigating. Tierney said Mason-Larez was injured at about 10:20 p.m. on the ride, which features a 115-foot drop into a 650,000-gallon pool.

The death was the second this month involving a visitor to Knott's Berry Farm.

Earlier this month, Justine Dedele Bolia, 20, died of a brain aneurysm after losing consciousness on Knott's Montezooma's Revenge roller coaster. Final autopsy results are pending.

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