Gas prices up over $3 a gallon

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NBC-TV Nightly News (National 6:30 PM EST)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn to the price of gas in this country, climbing fast once again. According to AAA, the nationwide average for regular unleaded now stands at $3.04 a gallon. Compare that to just a month ago when the price stood at $2.76. That’s a 28-cent-per-gallon jump. Our report from where the rubber meets the road tonight from NBC’s John Larson.

JOHN LARSON reporting: When prices skyrocketed a year ago, Pamela McGahee stopped driving her car and began vanpooling.

Ms. PAMELA McGAHEE: Good morning.

LARSON: With the nation’s highest prices in the Bay area today, she’s looking like a genius.

Ms. McGAHEE: And now I am saving $200.

LARSON: But not everyone’s like her. Despite near-record prices, the US government reported today Americans’ demand for gas remains strong, consumption up over a year ago.

Mr. GEOFF SUNDSTROM (AAA): Their social conscience may tell them that, you know, it’s a problem, but it’s really not altering their behavior.

LARSON: Lower prices found in South Carolina and Texas at $2.83 a gallon are more than offset by screaming new highs: $Seattle, $3.43; Chicago, $3.47; San Francisco, $4.33. All of which leaves many of us looking for alternative forms of transportation like the train. Let’s see (reading newspaper) “Gas hike, no end in sight.”

Oil watchdog groups say profits for the refining part of companies like Exxon and Chevron are way up.

Ms. JUDY DUGAN ( All of the refiners are making more money than ever.

LARSON: Oil companies say refinery accidents and repairs have caused the latest jump at the pump. An Internet protest calls for boycotting gasoline for one day this year, May 15th. Others, like carpoolers in LA, say, ‘Why not use less gas the other 364?’ John Larson, NBC News, Los Angeles.

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