Chicago suffers from increasing gas prices

June 7, 2009 (CHICAGO) Drivers are suffering from the increase, and people who take cabs in Chicago are about to face higher fares.

Also, there is concern that gas prices will head even higher during the summer vacation season.

So much for the two-dollar gallon of gas. Just when you thought gas prices had leveled off and were affordable again, the summer hits, and prices are only going in one direction.

"I just bought a truck, from smaller car, and I thought it was going to hold out, but I spoke too soon," said driver Colin Comer.

"When it went down, I was using the car more. When it was close two [dollars], even I couldn't believe it," said Ali Mafee, also a driver.

While pumps in the city are pricing gas at more than three dollars per gallon, AAA reports the average price for regular in the Chicago area is $2.94. A month ago, it was $2.42.

When gas prices are above $2.70 cents per gallon for seven consecutive days, a 50-cent fuel surcharge kicks in for cab fares in Chicago.

Pizza delivery driver Charles Quaid thinks it's unfair that only cab drivers get a break.

"I'm an independent contractor. I work for tips. I work with a delivery charge. It comes from our pocket, the gas," Quaid told ABC7 Chicago.

Drivers who fill up in the city are paying even more because of a combination of federal, state local and city taxes, which often drive motorists out of town for gas.

"I usually put in 20 bucks. Today, I put in five here, and when I get north, I'll put in 20," driver Quinneid Mines said.

Ald. Bob Fioretti believes drivers would stay in town to pump gas if the city reduced its 5 cents per gallon gas tax. The 2nd Ward alderman plans to introduce a resolution to study why Chicago needs such a high gas tax.

"We have a city council that is not that deliberate; we rush on things. We've got to make sure we exercise that power to tax or take away a tax, doing the right thing," Fioretti said.

Alderman Fioretti says the city gas tax generates $57 million, but he believes there are other sources within city budget to make up for that money. His idea to reduce the tax is unlikely to get support from Mayor Daley. Two years ago, the mayor brought up the idea of doubling the city's gas tax.

In the meantime, some drivers are relieved the rising gas prices are not as high as the prices last summer.

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