Events in Middle East drive up Valley gas prices

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Here in the Valley and across America the events in the Middle East are driving up gas prices as a new generation of automobiles roll off the assembly lines.

Last year, the average price for a regular gallon of gas in California was $2.92. Today, it stands at $3.56.

The turmoil in the Middle East has world financial markets on edge. Here in the U.S. the price of crude oil rose 6 percent on Monday and this is where you see the evidence.

"It's ridiculously high. It's getting pretty hard out here," Kay Verners said.

Verners spent $10 of her paycheck from a discount clothing store on gasoline.

At a price of $3.39 cents she almost got three gallons into her car's decade old tank.

Petroleum distributor Scott Cain told us that anytime the Middle East is unstable crude oil prices go up and gasoline prices soon follow.

"Crude is close to $95 a barrel so even if you think gas prices are bad now this is gonna add at least 5 cents a gallon from here on out."

Cain says crude oil accounts for 70 percent of the price of a gallon of gas and adds if it continues to rise so will the price at the pump.

Refineries will charge more now to make up for higher prices for crude later.

Right now your car's fuel efficiency can really make a difference.

Those who can afford a new car are flocking to dealerships like Hedrick's Chevrolet in Clovis looking for the newest fuel efficient vehicles.

The Volt is Chevy's all electric car with a gas generator to charge batteries on the go after 50 miles of driving

"If you are just commuting back and forth to work 30 to 50 miles a day you won't use a drop of gas. You'll get in your car, it will be fully charged, you'll go to work, come home and plug it back in," Brian Loyd said.

The volt can travel 50 miles between charges and Lloyd says meets most commuter needs.

He adds it costs about a $1.50 to charge batteries overnight with any electric outlet.

It's $34,000 price tag won't work for folks like Kay Verners.

She, like many others in the valley are no position to buy a newer - more fuel efficient car.

And Cain advises expect a series of gas hikes in the weeks ahead.


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