BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The president is prepared to take action over painfully high gas prices caused by the uprising in the Middle East.

Mike Schuh explains Marylanders are now closer to paying $4 a gallon.

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For the 17th straight day, the price on the sign boards are higher than the previous day.  Experts say we will look back wishing we could buy gas at these prices.

The sudden rise has risen to the top. The president sent a message on the topic.

“We’re adapting, we’re producing more oil, and we’re importing less,” said President Barack Obama. “Our automakers are manufacturing more fuel-efficient cars.”

In fact, he says we’re using 7 percent less oil now than the last price shock in 2005.

The president says the long-term key is cars that get much better gas mileage.

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A mid-size Ford Hybrid gets 41 miles a gallon in the city; it costs $32,000. It’s just what buyers are looking for.

“I would say that 20-25 percent of our customers are coming in now saying ‘I was thinking about holding off trading in my gas guzzler, but now with it going to $4 a gallon I want to do it now because I’m not going to be able to afford to go to work anymore,’” said Ernie Galarza, Len Stoler Ford.

“I get 20 miles per gallon with my car and we’re looking for 27 miles per gallon,” said Jeanne Linton, car buyer.

But should gas prices top $5 a gallon, no matter what the Lintons drive, “I’ll park it,” said her husband Joe Linton.

The president says he’s also looking at expanding oil exploration and drilling off the mid-Atlantic coast.

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The president also says they’re looking at releasing some of the 727 billion barrels of oil stored in the strategic oil reserve, but the time is not yet right.