Breaking through

Saw my first $3 gas yesterday — the Unocal station at Del Amo and Bellflower was selling regular for $3.05 a gallon.Toyota sees no relief from high gas prices:

“The cost of oil is going to continue to increase,” Jim Press, president and chief operating officer of Toyota’s U.S. sales unit. “In the long term and the short term.”

Mr. Press said this view is based on the fact that demand for oil is rising and even before Hurricane Katrina U.S. refineries were operating at full capacity.

“As we look forward, the fact is our country doesn’t have the cushion in refining capability,” Mr. Press said. He added that oil companies are now reopening older oil wells they had previously abandoned.

Since it will probably be more costly to get the remaining oil out of these wells, “they are investing capital for higher-cost oil,” Mr. Press said.

Meanwhile, GM sees things differently:

Paul Ballew, GM’s executive director of global market and industry analysis, said the car maker doesn’t believe gasoline prices will remain above $3 a gallon.

“Let’s be very clear about that. The markets don’t believe they will and the forecasters don’t believe they will,” Mr. Ballew said in a conference call with reporters.

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