Relieving Pain at the Pump

4/24/2008 Fresno, CA Here in Fresno a gallon of regular unleaded is as high as $3.99! The average national price per gallon of regular unleaded is now $3.55.

Today, a house committee is examining ways to ease the prices at the pump. Some lawmakers want the government to stop purchasing oil for the strategic petroleum reserve. They say that could reduce oil prices by $2 per barrel and gas prices by five-cents per gallon.

Committee Chairman Edward Markey says by continuing to purchase thousands of barrels of oil per day, at record prices, "The Bush administration is aiding and abetting the highway robbery of American consumers at the pump."

Newton's law of gravity is certainly holding true for the economy, but the what-goes-up-must-come-down-theory does not apply to fuel prices.

Richard Anderson, Delta Airlines, says "Basically we've had oil double in price in about a 12-month period."

Delta and Northwest Airlines contend a merger would help offset their billion-dollar losses due to soaring oil prices and a softening economy.

Thursday morning, CEO's from both companies met with lawmakers to pitch their proposed merger. Douglas Steenland, Northwest Airlines, says "This merger will not lessen competition."

Hardie White, Consumer, says "I just think something's got to be done. They've got to release the oil reserves that we have here or drop the sales tax on the gas."

The economy's downturn and oil prices close to $120 a barrel are also fueling layoffs at Harley Davidson and United Airlines. And factory orders are down this month.

Of course $1,200 to refuel is adding a heavier load to long haul truckers. Jon Wolf, truck driver, says "I sold my house, and ah, I thought I'd have a little money to maybe put a smaller place or something up and the business pretty much just took care of that, just to keep things rolling."

Caffeine isn't being guzzled as much either, Starbucks says its sales are also down, driven by decreased traffic.

Delta's CEO says just to keep up with fuel costs, domestic airlines will need to raise fares by 15 to 20%.

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