Gas Up 7 Cents In NJ As Feds Probe Nationwide Price Spike

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Gas Pump (file / credit: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

Gas Pump (file / credit: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

RIDGEFIELD, NJ (CBSNewYork) — Gas prices are on the rise again in New Jersey at stations along the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike.

This morning, gas prices were raised to $3.60 a gallon, up 7 cents from last week.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

Economists say despite the surge in gas prices nationwide, they don’t expect it to derail the fragile economic recovery. Yet, if prices hit a record of $4.11, they say all bets are off.

Prices that seemed painfully high six weeks ago almost feel like bargain basement deals today. Gas prices have spiked 45 cents since the first of the year.

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As always, it’s cheapest in New Jersey and most expensive in New York and Connecticut, where drivers are paying an average of just under $4.

In many places, it’s already been much more than that for weeks and some are using the soaring prices as an excuse to turn a profit.

Earlier this week, police in Suffolk County cracked down on tanker trucks suspected of bringing in gas from the Garden State and selling it on the cheap.

“They’ll sell the gas for 15 cents less and they won’t be paying the taxes and quite frankly, we can’t beat that,” said Andy Harris with the Long Island Gas Retailers Association.

The soaring pump prices are adding fuel to an increasingly fiery presidential campaign. All of the candidates, including President Obama, have been promising a solution — eventually.

“You know that we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices. There’s no quick fixes, no silver bullets,” Obama said. “When it comes to oil production, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than any time in the last eight years.

“If you want to become energy secure and energy independent and you want to have lower gas prices down the road, you have to develop our own resources here as aggressively as you can and he’s done just the opposite,” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The Federal Trade Commission has also been investigating to see if the nation’s gas prices have been kept artificially high.

Sen. Charles Schumer along with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill have been pushing the FTC to finish its investigation so that prices could be reduced if there is evidence they’re being inflated only for profit.

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