Pain at the pump continues; energy debate focused on supply - New York News

Pain at the pump continues; energy debate focused on supply

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WASHINGTON -

The rise in gas prices has been substantial over just the past month, with the national average rising from about $3.30 a gallon to more than $3.70 -- more than 40 cents in just over 30 days.

In some parts of the country, the five is back and it only goes up from there.  At station in California is topping out at nearly $5.24 a gallon for premium.

"Work hard for higher gas prices.. ha ha it doesn't seem fair," said a consumer.

It may not be fair, but it's not exactly unexpected either.  Refineries will have to start their annual ritual of switching over to government required summer blends -- and that's just one factor.

"Number one, we have the unrest in the Middle East;  whether it's Egypt of whether it's Iran; number two, we are still feeling some after effects of Hurricane Sandy; the east coast hasn't caught up with inventories and that's been a problem," said Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores.

And the energy debate in Washington, meantime, is focused on supply.

More protests took place over the weekend in front of the White House over building the keystone oil pipeline from Canada.  Environmentalists are concerned about possible spills.

Canada is quick to point out that U.S. oil has to come from somewhere.

"People protesting do get more attention in the media than the 65 percent of Americans that prefer to get their oil from Canada rather than Venezuela and the Middle East," said Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer on "Platt's Energy Week."

And in the meantime, all of that additional money spent at the pump has an impact.

"It does, it does, takes away from other things you could be spending money on," said another consumer.

And all of that additional money spent at the pump has an impact on the economy -- effectively acting as a tax hike.

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