Gas Prices Continue To Rise

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gas prices are exploding and it’s likely setting off alarms in your bank account. 

Mike Schuh explains it’s not just the unrest in the Middle East that’s fueling the price surge.

Get out your wallet.  Gas prices are soaring across the country.

“I was able to find good deals a few weeks ago, but now there’s really no place that has cheap gas,” said one driver.

Here in Maryland, you’re now paying $3.48 a gallon for regular.  That’s up 15 cents from last week alone and 39 cents more than last month.

“Really bad, really bad, probably $75-80 to fill this up,” said Lisa Patterson, motorist. “That’s crazy.”

Our country uses 400 million gallons of gas a day. With the civil war in Libya halting some supplies, prices have skyrocketed.   

But experts say it’s not just unrest in the Middle East but investors who are driving up the price.

“Well, the explanation is that it’s unbridled investment money that is dominating the market to the point where supply and demand doesn’t matter anymore,” said Sean Cota, Petroleum Marketers Association of America.

“It’s troubling, but it does not stop me from driving around because necessity outweighs the cost of the gas because you gotta make it work,” said Tammy Hayman, motorist. “Gotta go to work, gotta go pick up my kids, gotta do what I have to do.”

The dramatic increase is prompting the White House to consider tapping into the emergency supply.  The strategic petroleum reserve holds 726 million barrels of crude.  President Bush dipped into the reserve following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, releasing 11 million barrels.  Gas prices dropped from over $3 to $2.75 in less than a month.

Analysts say higher fuel prices will be felt not just on the ground but also in the air, meaning you could pay more for a ticket the next time you fly.  Southwest Airlines said Monday they’re going to tack on an extra $10 for many of their domestic round-trip tickets.  Last week, five other airlines did the same thing. color codes the prices around the country.  California is the worst, the Mountain states are the best and Maryland is somewhere in the middle.

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