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Gas woes far from over
Overnight price hikes weigh on consumers; poll says Americans want Bush to make gas prices priority.
September 2, 2005: 11:40 AM EDT
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Consumers got no relief from rising gas prices Friday as a new poll showed that a growing number of Americans want President Bush to pay more attention.

Prices at the pump rose nationwide as damage caused by Hurricane Katrina disrupted distribution of supplies to key distribution centers and terminals.

Gas stations in the East, Southeast and Midwest all reported running out of fuel as drivers fearing a shortage swarmed to their stations, USA Today reported.

The nationwide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas shot up 16 cents overnight to a new record of $2.86 a gallon, according to AAA's daily fuel report.

But the motorist organization said its survey has been unable to keep up with real price increases at the pumps, which have surged well above $3 a gallon in many areas and above $5 around Atlanta.

Americans have managed to withstand rising energy prices in the past year, but the spike in gasoline over the last few days is testing that resilience.

Research firm Ipsos Public Affairs said a national poll it conducted for the Associated Press showed the public is almost as worried about gas prices as it is about the war in Iraq.

According to Ipsos, 24 percent of those polled said energy and gas prices should be the highest priority for President Bush and Congress in the next few months. That compares to 29 percent who said the situation in Iraq should take top priority.

Price gouging concerns

With several stations raising prices overnight, reports of price gouging have heightened consumer concerns.

Stations in the Atlanta region were charging as much as $5 a gallon, and one station in Stockbridge, Ga. was charging customers $5.87 a gallon. That led Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to sign an order putting the state's price-gouging statute into play Thursday.

President Bush also warned Thursday against price-gouging of gasoline in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Fears of a gas crisis have led to speculation that consumers will feel the effect of gas prices beyond the roadway, with the possibility of airlines shutting down due to shortages.

But the Federal Aviation Administration dismissed those rumors and said officials are canvassing airports, airlines and jet fuel providers, adding that so far, airports and airlines have enough jet fuel to keep running normally.

"Given that a number of major pipeline operators have now resumed operations, we believe the aviation industry will not face any immediate disruptions relating to the supply of jet fuel," the FAA said in a statement Thursday.

Two major pipelines in the Gulf Coast shut down by power outages after the storm resumed partial operation Thursday.

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Getting gouged at the pump? Click here to find out what you can do about it.

Is $4 a gallon gas coming soon? For more, click here.  Top of page

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