Gas Prices Increase

Fresno, CA The average cost for regular unleaded has climbed to $3.36 cents a gallon. That's about $.60 more than a year ago. Here in the Valley we're paying even more $3.74 on average in Fresno, $3.78 in Visalia and $3.76 in Merced.

One reason the cost of fuel is high may surprise you.

Nic Walters said: "It's to the point now where it's part of life. Watch it climb."

And it doesn't appear to be coming down anytime soon here in the Valley.

"I hope that somebody can figure it out and it'll come back down," said Don Crowley.

Local economist Scott Cain said two factors have increased costs. One you probably already know about the soaring price of crude oil due to strong global demand. But the other might surprise you daylight saving time.

Cain: "We tend to drive more. You can take a look at the lines around here. When the summer comes around we start driving more. And, of course, that's gonna increase the demand for gas and that's gonna drive up the price even further."

Bud Rushhaupt said, "One time I closed when we went through this a couple years ago."

Bud Rushhaupt owns bad bud's gas station in Northeast Fresno. He tries to keep his prices lower than the competition. But in doing so Rushhaupt said he only makes $.02 per gallon.

"If I priced that fuel there at four dollars and a nickel that'd be good for me but we'd be the only people in here," joked Rushhaupt.

Some drivers said they rely on fuel efficient cars to save money.

Julie Yang: "I like my Toyota. It's good on gas."

And others use credit cards with cash back rewards.

"I used to go in and pay cash every time, but now I've been using my credit card," said Marilyn Georgeson.

Meanwhile Cain warned regular unleaded gas could easily hit 4 dollars by summer. But he said, believe it or not, something good is coming from these price increases.

Cain: "There's a lot of innovation taking place out there. There's a lot of research and eventually somebody's gonna bust through with something new."

And that could mean newer alternative fuels and even hydrogen powered cars.

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