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The average retail price of regular gasoline has topped ¥140 for the first time since November 2008 amid the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, the Oil Information Center said Wednesday.

It stood at ¥145.50 per liter as of Monday, up ¥6.50 from a week earlier. The surge followed slight fluctuations of ¥0.1 until Feb. 21 and a ¥0.9 rise last week.

Oil distributors increased wholesale prices due to rising crude oil prices and gas stations passed on the higher costs at the pump, the center said.

The rise in gasoline prices will raise the burden on households.

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