What's Behind High Prices at the Pump?

The price for regular unleaded gas is now more than $3.00 a gallon in some places around East Texas; still less than the national average, but definitely high enough to have an impact on area drivers.

Gas prices are now at an all time high and they've been rising steadily for the past several weeks.

A gallon of regular unleaded is now priced at $3.06 at the Conoco station on Frank Street in Lufkin, but despite record high gas prices, even more Americans are expected to travel by car over the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend than last year.

Prices at the pump this spring are soaring and East Texas drivers are getting fed up with emptying their wallets just to fill up. Some lawmakers are speculating that industry mergers and refinery shutdowns are limiting supplies, but many cost-conscious motorists have their own theories about what's behind the record breaking cost of fuel.

One traveler said, "Gas prices keep going up because the price of oil is going up, but the price of gasoline varies greatly throughout the country. I'm from Beaumont and we're paying $2.83 or $2.81 and here, goodness, it's $2.97."

But some Lufkin residents blame greedy lawmakers for the steady increase. They're wondering if there's any relief in sight, especially during the busy summer travel season.

A Lufkin resident said, "All the people in politics are oil people and it's interesting just last week the governor had thoughts of taking the 20 cent road tax off, and then that's when we started seeing another sharp increase in the price per gallon."

Other East Texans believe big oil companies are behind the price hike and enjoying record profits while consumers are struggling to pay the price.

An Angelina County woman said, "The retailers are getting a bigger cut and the state tax in Texas is terrible. If we can get that 20 cent tax off of it, it would lower the price some."

Right now, the national average for a regular gallon of unleaded fuel is about $3.11. The state average in Texas is $2.95.