NY Senator warns of $2 gas pains for summer

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New York's summer gasoline prices could soar above $2 a gallon again unless Democrats and Republicans work together to increase oil supplies and reduce demand, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said yesterday. According to the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops, gasoline prices in New York City and Long Island are 32 percent higher than they were this time last year. Across the five boroughs, the average price at the pump is $1.53, compared to $1.16 this time last year. On Long Island, drivers pay $1.49 per gallon on average.

Schumer said those prices could soar to $1.80 per gallon by July 4, and could go as high as $2 per gallon as the summer goes on.

Last year, prices peaked at about $2.30 a gallon before summer demand dropped off, and the release of oil from the federal reserves increased supply.

"We consume more oil than we produce," Schumer said. "And we don't produce as much as we should."

The senator renewed his call for another federal reserve release, an idea President Bush nixed on the campaign trail.

But Schumer hopes the president might be more flexible in the wake of an energy crisis, and said Bush's decision last week to back off his controversial Alaskan wildlife refuge plan was an invitation to explore other sites.

Democrats, citing environmental concerns, have typically been reluctant to explore for oil on American soil or its shores. Republicans have generally encouraged the energy hunt to reduce the dependence on foreign oil.

Schumer says the two sides could meet in the middle.

"Things are going to get worse unless both parties work together," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a Midtown news conference. "It's easily solved by compromise."

Schumer said he would support increased domestic drilling in oil-rich areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, and would back exploration for oil and natural gas in the Colorado Rockies.

The Democratic senator criticized the Bush administration for $700 million in proposed budget cuts in energy research and conservation programs.

He also called for more carpools, high-occupancy vehicle lanes and increased train service to get more cars off the road.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 02, 2001


Matlack Inc the country's largest truck tank lines is bankrupt. The high cost of diesel will destroy the trucking industry.

-- David Williams (DAVIDWILL@prodigy.net), April 03, 2001.

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