Hurricane affects local gas prices

Drivers are getting hit at the gas pumps.

At $4.29 a gallon gas is almost a bargain by city standards. But customers say they have noticed the price jump in the last day or so.

"I was happy the last two weeks because it was actually staying stable. But now, thank you Hurricane Ike," said Sharrise Brooks.

Hurricane Ike is the reason for the increases. Even though the price of crude oil dipped below a $100 for the first time in months Friday, refineries in the Gulf have shut down as the hurricane closes in. And lest we think prices are bad here, they're much worse in the Gulf region, approaching and even topping $5 a gallon, prompting North Carolina officials to warn against price gauging.

"After an investigation, if we determine that a station has committed price gouging, we will file a lawsuit against the station," said Roy Cooper , North Carolina attorney general.

In the Chicago area, AAA says prices have risen about 40 cents a gallon in the last couple days. Most stations get gas from Midwest refineries.

"The next 12 hours are critical. If it's just power outages, refineries can come back on Monday," said Nicole Niemi, AAA spokesperson.

For frustrated customers, that's not good news. And it's met by some with more than a little skepticism.

"Something happens somewhere in the country and gas prices go up because it affects this and it affects that. Sometimes I just don't buy it. It's ridiculous," said Ted Sima.

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