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Gas Prices Poised to Hit All-Time High

The average price of gasoline is set to exceed the inflation-adjusted all-time high this week, and the impending summer travel season is expected to offer little relief. Two energy experts analyze the factors that continue to pump up gas prices.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    If it's Memorial Day weekend, Americans are hitting the road, some 30 million of us this year. And if the summer driving season is getting under way, gas prices are, as usual, going up.

    But this season, they're way up, to an average of $3.22 a gallon nationwide, just about at the inflation-adjusted record high reached in 1981. Coast to coast, many drivers say they're feeling pain at the pump.

  • DRIVER:

    You only budget for so much, and it's beginning to get beyond the budget.

  • DRIVER:

    I work for an eight-hour day. An hour and a half of it's going to gas.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    It now costs this California driver more than $70 to top off his SUV.

  • CALIFORNIA DRIVER:

    I think it's ridiculous. I mean, you know, it's at an all-time high statewide. We're one of the states that has the most expensive gas.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    And these truck drivers outside of Boston say the high prices are having an impact on their bottom line.

  • TRUCK DRIVER:

    We are losing all the business, you know? We don't have any money in our pocket after each trip, you know?

  • TRUCK DRIVER:

    Their profits — I don't know many percent he can say, you know — 200 percent to 300 percent. They're making all the money.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Once again, the skyrocketing gas prices have prompted outcries from politicians. The governors of at least 22 states have called for a congressional inquiry.

    And on Capitol Hill today, a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee explored who's to blame for the high prices. Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak.

    REP. BART STUPAK (D), Michigan: We know that the price of crude oil and refinement of oil into gasoline make up 75 percent of the price of gasoline. Big oil is often quick to blame world crude prices, but that argument doesn't appear to be the full story. Despite the fact that crude oil was $7 cheaper per barrel than last year, gas prices are approximately 50 percent higher.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn.

    REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), Tennessee: I certainly hope that, throughout the course of this debate, that my colleagues and I can move beyond a short-sighted temptation to engage in price-gouging finger-pointing. Instead, what we need to do is talk about what it really will take to reduce the cost of gasoline, and that is a commonsense, balanced approach to address the dwindling energy production capacity and the future of renewable energy for this country.

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