Oil and gas prices continue to rise

WASHINGTON

The government's new Fuel Gauge report is due out a later Monday. It's almost certain to show gas prices continuing to rise. In some states the $4-dollar mark is a distant memory, with the five dollar mark within reach.

Across the country sticker shock is setting in.

"This is the first time I pay 75-dollars for a tank of gas," said motorist Jorge Granados.

"It's around 95-dollars, so it's unbelievable right now," said motorist Billy Withers.

It takes nearly a $100 to fill some tanks. A dollar per gallon increase costs the average family an extra $1,000 a year.

Drivers lined up three and a half hours early in Knoxville, Tennessee to get free Easter gas from a local church.

Others feel less charitable towards the oil companies.

"I'm angry. There's no reason for it in my opinion," said motorist Warren Losey.

This week analysts expect Exxon to report profits up 60-percent, $10-billion. Shell is expected to report a 22-percent gain. There's no oil shortage, just speculators' worries about middle east turmoil.

"Six dollar gas is probably one well-placed hurricane and one tiny little bit of supply disruption away," said Richard Hastings with Global Hunter Securities.

Airline tickets are up seven-percent in a month. Florist Michael Caruso is paying 25-percent more to fuel his trucks. He's worried the increase will take its toll. "You can't just keep passing on these extra costs to them, because they have all these extra costs already."

Tourism's already taking a big hit. Grand Canyon helicopter tours are down 10-percent. Mount Rushmore had 6,000 fewer visitors last month than the year before. This is a big worry with Memorial Day now just five weeks away.

Analysts are warning continued increases in gas prices could hurt economic recovery. They say people are pumping more of their income into their gas tanks instead of into the economy.

Nationally the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded rose 11.5-cents in just the past two weeks, but that rise was smaller than in previous weeks. We are still below the July 2008 all-time high average price of $4.11.

Some analysts believe gas prices might already be peaking. Demand for gas in the U.S. has weakened as the price of gas has increased.

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