Chicagoans pay most for gas in US

Drivers hitting the road for the holidays will feel the pain at the pump. Gas in the Southland is at a 2-year high.

January 11, 2011 4:26:15 AM PST
Filling up the gas tank isn't cheap- especially in Chicago.

A survey indicates the Windy City has the highest gas prices in the country. The price of regular gas is $3.35 a gallon, according to the Lundberg Survey. That's 27-cents higher than the average for the rest of the nation.

The twice monthly survey found gas prices have gone up about nine cents for regular gasoline in the last three weeks to $3.08 nationwide. The U.S. average for diesel is also up at $3.36.

The lowest gas prices are found in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jonathon Marks expressed the pain drivers are feeling at the pumps. For Marks, who has to drive to work 30 miles each way, it's one more considerable expense to juggle.

"I'm not happy about these gas prices. I think it's absurd," said Marks. "Trying to budget buying groceries, and gas. And property taxes are outrageous."

"I just put $15 in and got four gallons. So it's ridiculous," said Kelvin Johnson.

"I drive an SUV, so that's $75 dollars every time I fill up and probably every week and a half. So I'm not happy," said Caroline Corpuz.

Factoring in to Chicago's price of gas is state, county and city sales tax. And whenever the overall price of gas goes up, so does the amount residents pay in taxes. But the high prices are not as steep as they were in 2008 when gas topped $4 a gallon and drivers were stunned.

"We really don't see them change their travel habits until that number hits $4 per gallon. That seems to be when consumers really start to feel the pinch," said Beth Mosher, AAA Chicago.

The high price of gas is directly related to the ongoing leak and subsequent shutdown of the Alaska pipeline. Industry analysts say it could be at least a week before it's up and running at normal levels.

"As news comes out and if we get some positive news, we may see some relief at the pump. But I think for the interim, next week or so, you might want to fill up your car," said Daniel Flynn, PFG Best.

Flynn went on to say he doesn't think the pipeline shutdown will drive gas prices to 2008 levels, but it will be a while before prices go back down.

The company that operates the pipeline is working on a plan to install a bypass line so the flow of oil can be restarted despite a leak.