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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Pain at the Pump

Aired August 22, 2003 - 19:27   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if you have been feeling the pain at the pump recently, you are not the only one. Gas prices are up across the country. How high will they go and what is behind that spike?
Jen Rogers takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pain at the pump, from New York City cab drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not good.

ROGERS: To California R.V. drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are getting ripped off.

ROGERS: Across America, filling up your tank is turning into a jaw-dropping experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five, forty-seven.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unbelievable.

ROGERS: After a relatively stable 2002, gas prices have been on a roller-coaster ride this year, hitting record highs in March at the time the war, cooling off by Memorial Day, and gaining speed once again in August.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really frustrating to be able to think for a second that they're going down and then, literally, the next morning, wake up and they're at $2 again.

ROGERS: Experts say it's a combustible mix of factors, including what the government says is the lowest gasoline supply in nine months. In the already tight market, imbalances created by the Phoenix pipeline eruption and the blackout, which temporarily shut down seven refineries, have helped fuel the surge in price, all against the backdrop of the usual busy summer driving season.

JEFFREY SPRING, AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: People take vacations. And they're usually a little longer than just like coming home from school or something like that. Especially now, after 9/11, more people are driving on vacation than ever before. And so there's significant demand.

ROGERS: Demand that's not expected to decline until at least Labor Day.

(on camera): In the meantime, drivers are bracing for a bumpy ride. Here in California, in just the last week, gas prices have surged more than 17 cents a gallon, according to the Department of Energy. It's the second biggest weekly gain on record since the government started keeping track in the early 1990s.

Jen Rogers, CNN Financial News, Burbank, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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