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Gas prices climb, President considers tapping reserves

9:31 PM, Mar 6, 2011   |    comments
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The Lundberg Survey completed Friday has the average national price of a gallon of regular at $3.51.

The price of crude oil has topped $100 dollars a barrel and that has Washington eyeing the nation's oil reserves to protect the economy.

"The issue of the reserves is one we're considering," President Obama's Chief of Staff William Daley told NBC's Meet the Press Sunday. "It is something that has only been done in very rare occasions."

The last time the U.S. raided those reserves was three years ago when Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast.

But University of Denver Business Professor Ron Rizzuto said it may be too early to tap the reserves.

"If you leave it to the market to work, there willl be other supply and maybe it will moderate prices," Rizzuto said. 

Prices are certainly affecting customers at gas stations in the metro area.

"If gas prices don't go down, this whole country's going down," said Frank Lagrimenta, the manager of the U Pump It Gas Station on Alameda Boulevard in Lakewood.

Many customers there complained of the high prices, but had differing opinions on whether the U.S. should raid reserves.

"I don't think in general I'm in favor of that," said driver Stanton La Breche, "because I think strategic reserves are just for that."

"What are they saving it for?" asked driver Rick Castiglia." Let's use it."

If reserves are tapped, it would take 13 days from a presidential decision for the gasoline to hit the market.

Gas prices still have yet to reach record levels.

The highest all-time national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $4.12 on July 11, 2008.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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