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New York Drivers Facing Sticker Shock At The Gas Station

Expert Says Improving Economy And Middle East Tensions Fueling Spike
(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Prices at the pump have hit a record for this time of year and drivers are shelling out a lot more to fill up their cars.

Lamar Munnerlyn drives his own truck in New York City and said every time gas prices go up, his salary goes down.

“It’s really difficult. I’m losing money all the time,” Munnerlyn told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan. “We have family we gotta feed and everything like that. Gas prices going up every time you turn around.”

Gas prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks, putting an added burden on many already struggling to get by.

“That is very difficult, especially the economy nowadays,” said one man.

According to Automobile Association of America, the price of gas in New York City is now $3.97 a gallon — that’s up 15 cents in just one week.

The question is why?

“I would say the latest upturn by gasoline prices are primarily the consequence of an improving economy,” said John Lonski of Moody’s.

Lonski also said unrest in the Middle East has helped trigger a spike in prices.

“If the conflict in the Middle East in Syria intensifies, it draws in Iran, that could have the affect of putting unwanted upward pressure on the price of oil and gasoline,” Lonski said .

New Yorkers already pay 70 cents a gallon in state and federal gas taxes.

“We know the economics and the political scene and all of that is behind all of this, but to all of us, it is frustrating,” said one woman.

All told, the U.S. Energy Department said Americans are pumping 4 percent of their incomes into buying gas, the highest amount in four years.

“We have to realize earlier this year, the middle class was hit by in increase in taxes…now we have the middle class having to bear increased energy cost,” Lonski said.

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