Gas prices continue to climb in Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

The average price for regular unleaded has climbed above $4 a gallon across the state. That's a 20 cent increase in the last week according to AAA, and a whopping 32 cent increase in the last month. Experts are now projecting $5 a gallon prices by the end of summer.

The high price has many drivers shopping around for the cheapest gas in town. One of the causes for the increase in price, tensions overseas.

Drivers are continuing to feel the pain at the pump. "I hate it, I hate the total. It's between 60 and 80 something dollars these days depending how empty your tank is," said Sheri Mulder of Chowchilla.

Mulder does a lot of driving to visit her kids in Southern California but the high gas prices aren't forcing her to cut back on her travels, at least not yet.

"I have to rely on my car so I really couldn't make that many changes. And am I going to stop seeing my kids once a month? Probably not," said Mulder.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Fresno is $3.97. That's up 18 cents from last week. A year ago, the price was $3.56 per gallon. "Most customers are dissatisfied with the price of gas going up but really it's not under our control.

We just have to go according to the price we pay for it. We have to add our margin to it and the street price reflects it," said gas station owner Joe Rebella.

Experts say tensions around the world have resulted in the upward movement of gas oil prices.

"There's a lot of anxiety right now about what's going to happen in the Middle East with Iran and the Arab spring still continuing to unfold and that appears to be pushing crude prices up, up and up," said Tupper Hull with the Western States Petroleum Association.

Experts also attribute the rising costs in gas to the warmer season. Historically, prices move up as people begin to drive more. And although some economists say gas prices will keep increasing, other say the cost of crude oil will determine the price of gas.

"If you want to predict where gasoline prices are going, keep an eye on crude oil prices. When crude oil prices go up, you typically see gasoline prices go up at some point later," said Hull.

That uncertainty has many people thinking twice before they fill up. "We will have to cut back and limit where we go and try to plan more things on a day where we can go to more than one place versus running errands every day," said Terri Baird of Fresno.

In the meantime, consumers say they will shop around for gas in search for the cheapest in town. Some people we spoke with said if prices keep going up, they may have to resort to alternatives, such as cutting back on driving and taking public transportation.

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