Tuesday May 21, 2013
SPECIAL SERIES: Record High Gas Prices Taking It`s Toll on Salem-Keizer Residents, BusinessesKevin Hays Salem-News.com
With the average price in the Salem-area now at a record high $2.86.1, more and more state and federal legislative leaders say they are troubled by the rising gas prices and the affect it is having on local families and businesses. Salem-News.com is the ONLY Salem-area news Web site tracking daily prices locally in Salem-Keizer, Silverton, Stayton, Lincoln City, and Dallas, as well as statewide.
(SALEM) - With gas prices in the mid-valley nearing three dollars a gallon, or in some cases surpassing three dollars a gallon, federal, local and state leaders say they are trying to put an end to the rising fuel prices, and they say the effect it will have, not only now, but in the long-term, will be huge on both the state and local economies.
Oregon Democratic U.S. Representative Darlene Hooley said she is working with her colleagues in Congress to protect consumers from price gouging and to make certain that big oil companies are not given a free ride on the back of American taxpayers.
Gas prices are now causing hardships for over two-thirds of American families while Chevron is recording record profits and Exxon is giving away a $400 million dollar retirement package to their former CEO. Enough is enough; it`s time for Congress to act Hooley said.
Hooley has called on the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert (R-IL), to hold hearings into price gouging and to bring to the House floor legislation she co-sponsored that would provide immediate relief to consumers by giving the Federal Trade Commission the explicit authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of oil or gas.
The bill would also dramatically increase penalties for those who price gouge consumers.
Senate President Peter Courtney from Salem asked the state attorney general on Friday to assure Oregonians that the state is monitoring rising gas prices to watch for possible price manipulation and other unlawful practices.
Courtney said he would look forward to any suggestions for a legislative fix to the problem.
Republican State Representative Jeff Kropf from Sublimity says the Governor should suspend the state gas tax for 60-days to give Oregonians some temporary relief.
As for a long-term solution, Kropf said the Governor should call a special session get to comprehensive bio-fuel legislation jump-started.
Marion County Commissioner Patti Milne said she is concerned about the high fuel prices throughout the county, especially the what the cost is doing to farmers bottom-line, because the county is very dependant on money from the agricultural industry.
On Friday, Eki said Salem`s average price jumped overnight nearly 3-cents to $2.86.1. Eugene rose to $2.96.4, Portland went up to $2.87.7 all new record highs.
The national average is at $2.92.9, statewide average hit a new record high $2.91.1. The old record $2.90.3 was set September, 9th, 2005.
In Silverton the average price is $2.83.9, Stayton, $2.85.2, Lincoln City, $2.94.2, and Dallas, $2.91.2.
Republican State Representative Vicki Berger from Salem said while the state can`t do much about the gas price situation, the impact the high fuel prices will have on the state economy will be huge across the board.
Every state and local agency, business, and family budget is or will be affected by the prices Berger said
On Tuesday, President Bush called for action in response to the high gasoline prices.
The President called on the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Attorney General's office to be sure consumers are treated fairly at the pumps and that prices are not being manipulated.
Bush suspended oil shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to make more oil available to other users, and urged energy companies to invest their record-high profits in expanding production of existing energy sources and in the development of alternate energy sources.
The President also asked Congress to consider suspending some tax breaks for energy companies, to look for ways to streamline the process of expanding or constructing new refineries in the U.S., and to consider expanding tax credits to consumers and businesses purchasing hybrid and clean-diesel vehicles.
The Oregon Petroleum Association said Monday the high price for gas has some gas station owners in the state wanting to get out of the business altogether because it`s becoming harder and harder for them to make a living, plus the daily bombardment of complaints from customers who blame them for the high gas prices.
On Monday, the Salem City Council could decide to raise garbage rates in the city for the first time in over a decade.
One of the reasons for the proposed increase, higher fuel costs.
According to the Mid-Valley Garbage and Recycling Association the increase would be between 5.5 percent and 8.3 percent for residential customers and 5 percent for commercial customers in Marion County and 8 percent in Polk County.
If approved Monday, the increases would take affect on Tuesday, which will mean residents and business with already tight budgets will have to come-up with a little more
Eki reminds drivers that many credit card companies are offering rebates and discounts on fuel purchases.
For example: every time you swipe your AAA Credit Card at any automated gas pump, you'll receive up to a 5% rebate that's credited right to your account.
Also local grocery stores with fueling stations, such as the Fred Meyer at Lancaster and Market Street, and the South Salem Safeway on Commercial Street, offer gas discounts to card holders.
Eki says some stations are even offering cash discounts to drivers to reduce the fees they have to pay for credit and debit card transactions.
Coming Tomorrow: Area Auto and Boat dealers talk about if the high gas prices are hurting or helping business.
Thursday`s Story: Local leaders talk about the high gas prices, and what, if anything, they can do about the situation.
Tuesday`s Story: Salem-area auto repair shops are surprised that with the high prices for fuel business is down.
Monday`s Story: With gas prices expected to go over three dollars a gallon before this summer, many families are temporarily exchanging their possessions for gas money, and some gas station owners say they want out of the business altogether.
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