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BY ALEJANDRO BODIPO-MEMBA

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Crude oil prices, spurred by increased tensions in the Persian Gulf, shot up to their highest levels since September after images of a British sailor captured by Iranian forces were beamed around the globe.

Meanwhile, Michigan gasoline prices increased 3 cents overnight to $2.61 a gallon, according to AAA Michigan in Detroit. The national average was up 2 cents to $2.64 a gallon.

The last time Michigan pump prices were above $2.60 was in September.

May delivery of crude oil futures rose 42 cents to $66.46 a barrel at 12:15 p.m. on the electronic trading desk of the New York Mercantile Exchange. in London on Friday.

The highest closing rate in nearly seven months was on Sept. 8, when crude oil prices closed at $66.03 a barrel on the NYMEX. The highest-ever closing price for crude oil was recorded on July 14 at $78.40 a barrel.

$2.60? That’s nothing! Gas prices here in southern California starts at $3.25 per gallon! Even though gas continues to climb, more folks are getting on bikes too! Even the bike industry is reacting to it. With new advents such as the NuVinci Hubs, Shimano’s Coaster Bikes and even more commuter bikes were introduced in 2007.

At Interbike, we saw ton’s of companies breaking new ground by introducing new commuter models for 2007. I suspect 2008 to be more commuter friendly in the bike business.