St. Louis-area gas prices approach record highs

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KMOV.com

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 26 at 10:45 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- We are now paying the highest price for gas that we ever have before.  We're seeing gas at $3.99 across the St. Louis area, putting us on pace to pass the record high of $3.99-5 set last May.

The Metro East is currently at $4.19 a gallon.  It is on the verge of breaking the record set in 2008, which was $4.20 a gallon.  But here's the extra kick in your wallet.  This doesn't add up.  Oil supplies are at an all-time high worldwide and demand is not increasing.

Will gas prices continue to rise, stay at $4, or fall? Share your thoughts.

"It's a gas guzzler for sure," Mike Gentry said of his SUV.  " I'm looking to buy a new car just because of gas prices."

You'd think we'd get a break considering for the first time in 62 years the U.S. will export more refined gasoline and diesel than we import -- enough to run America's engines for a week -- but that fuel is flowing to growing economies south of our borders where demand is higher.

Economics experts say these prices are purely due to the possibility of a problem.

"Speculation is leading to a probably .75 cent increase of gasoline at the pump, so although supply is high, a lot of speculators on Wall Street and in London are betting on that there could be a potential disruption of oil," St. Louis University economics professor Jack Strauss, Ph.D, said.

On Wednesday, Strauss says the International Monetary Fund expressed concerns if tensions were to boil over in Iran.

"If there is a problem in Iran and they shut off the Straight of Hormuz, the price of oil will rise by 30%," Strauss said.

At the current price at the pump, we'll be shelling out an extra $750 dollars this year for gas as it drains disposable income.  The price at the pump has gone up 12 days in a row, which Strauss warns could push us into a recession.

"It makes no sense. There's no reason for it to cost this much," Mike Goldberg said as he filled up his mini van.  "It's just business and these guys are gouging us."

That's why some senators are now pushing for legislation that they say would bring down gas prices by stopping Wall Street from speculating about oil prices -- the very reason you are paying more at the pump.

"We have got to make sure, and what our concern is, is that oil prices reflect supply and demand, not Wall Street greed," Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I) Vermont, said.

Click here to view a map of all gas prices throughout the St. Louis area.

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