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Gasoline prices rile customers

Jean Navey fills up her tank with gas at the BP in Boger City. Gas prices have hit a record high, and officials expect prices to continue rising. Sarah Grano / LTN Photo

Gas station cashiers have heard a lot of grumbling since gas prices hit a record high.
“Customers are very unhappy, and they act like we are in control,” said Karen Tomlinson who works at a Times Food Store.
Everyday people ask Tomlinson when prices will go down and why they keep going up.
“It comes from the main office,” said Tomlinson. “It’s not me. That’s all I can tell them.”
The regular-grade gas price in North Carolina rose to an average of $1.67 on Friday.
“North Carolina has been breaking records everyday this week,” said Sarah Davis, spokeswoman for AAA.
The good news is that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area has the lowest gas prices in the state at $1.63 per gallon.
Asheville has topped the list at $1.70 per gallon.
“I didn’t think I’d see that for a number of weeks, but it’s already here,” said Davis.
Officials don’t expect the gas prices to go down anytime soon, a fact that frustrates many.
The staff at Times Food Store hear many complaints about the war in Iraq and George Bush when it comes to climbing gas prices.
“Bush needs to take us out of the war,” said Joel Ransom as he pumped his van full of gas.
Ransom has not cut down on his gas usage since the prices started rising.
“You got to fill up,” said Ransom. “You’ve got to use it every single day.”
AAA has offered several suggestions to cutting down on gas usage. Carpooling tops the list.
“If you’ve ever thought about it before, now is the time to get with your co-workers and really talk about it,” said Davis.
Davis also suggests refraining from punching the gas and then slamming on the breaks and avoiding driving faster than 60 miles per hour.
Customers end up paying 10 cents extra per gallon of gas for every five miles an hour they go over 60.
Davis also suggests using cruise control and making sure tires are properly inflated.
A number of causes have created the rise in gas prices, said Davis.
OPEC is reducing output. Venezuela is suffering political unrest. The Asian and global economy are improving and using more petroleum-based products.
This has all happened at a time when the United States has record low oil inventory to combat price increases by crude oil suppliers.
As for the future, gas prices are expected to rise throughout the year. by Sarah Grano

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