CBS TV Evening News (6:30 PM EST)
KATIE COURIC, anchor: The price of gasoline is rising again and rising sharply. It’s up 34 cents a gallon in the past five weeks, to a nationwide average tonight of $2.51, the highest price in nearly six months.
(Graphic on screen)
Gas Prices National Average = $2.51 Per Gallon – Source: AAA
COURIC: That’s the average, but in California the price is a lot higher. John Blackstone is there.
JOHN BLACKSTONE reporting: It’s true, bad things come in threes. Three dollar-a-gallon gas is back in California and may well be coming to gas pumps everywhere. It’s supply and demand, experts say. Supply is down because refineries closed for maintenance and to switch over to summer blends.
Mr. SEVERIN BORENSTEIN (University of California Energy Institute): The market gets very tight. And if you’re in the business of refining oil into gasoline, you make a whole lot of money. And if you’re buying gasoline, you end up paying for it.
BLACKSTONE: That tight market has put us on a gas price roller coaster. The average price, just over 2.20 a gallon a year ago, shot up to $3.00 by last summer, but then stated to fall again. By October, prices were below 2.20, but now they’re on their way up sharply and may be heading toward an expensive summer.
(Graphic on screen)
Gas Prices Regular
Feb. 20, 2006 $2.21 Per Gallon
Aug. 7, 2006 $3.00 Per Gallon
Oct. 23, 2006 $2.19 Per Gallon
Mar. 5, 2007 $2.46 Per Gallon
This Summer $?.?? Per Gallon
Mr. JAMIE COURT (Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights): We are going to see a dollar run up at the pump if things keep going this way by summer. And that is going to put a very serious dent in the economy.
BLACKSTONE: One solution is more supply, but with growing interest in ethanol and alternative fuel, oil companies have little interest in expanding refinery capacity. As a driver, if the rising prices drive you nuts, better get a tight grip on the wheel, the road ahead looks steep indeed. John Blackstone, CBS News, San Francisco.