Gas Prices Slowing The Recovery

Monday, March 7, 2011 - 3:34pm

Economists warn soaring fuel costs could serve as speed-bump to recovery.

These days paying at the pump means pain at the pump.

For weeks gas prices have been steadily climbing with no end in sight.

The national average is now at $3.50 a gallon, in many places it's much higher.

Prices have spiked 15 cents in the last week, nearly 40 cents in a month.

Not since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 have we seen gas prices rise this quickly.

Now a new perfect storm: With instability in the middle east at a time when demand is up worldwide.

"We're seeing demand increases not only in the U.S. but also in Asia, African and South America that are all contributing to higher crude oil prices and consequently higher priceas at the pump," says Andrew Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.

The highest prices can be felt in California, where in some places it's nearing $5.00 a gallon.

Higher gas prices mean everthing costs more, from groceries to airline tickets and popular vacation destinations.

In North Carolina charter boat captains are worried about their livelihoods.

"If it's like $4.00 a gallon, we burn like 400 gallons of fuel on a trip you're looking at $1600 dollars to make the trip just for the fuel," says Bill Davis.

With oil selling for more than $100 a barrel the White House is considering tapping into the Stategic Oil Reserves to mitigate price hikes in the midst of a fragile economic recovery.

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