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Sen. Schumer: Break Up Big Oil Companies So Gas Prices Come Down Quicker

Question Now Is: Are Big 4 Purposely Keeping Pain At The Pump Continuous?
These were the prices at one station along the Hutchinson Rover Parkway on Feb. 20, 2013. (Photo: CBS 2)

These were the prices at one station along the Hutchinson Rover Parkway on Feb. 20, 2013. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s been sticker shock at the gas pumps for more than a month. Almost daily, there have been price hikes, adding 45 cents to the cost of each gallon.

But are our elected officials willing to do something about the skyrocketing prices? CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer went in search of answers on Wednesday.

It has been pain and loathing at the gas pumps. Fuel prices have climbed for 33 days in a row, and drivers are crying for relief.

“I got to cut down on some stuff, you know? I got to pack my own lunch now,” said Jose Vaca of the Bronx.

Although New York does have the highest gas taxes in the nation — 49 cents per gallon — most think this is a national problem, saying oil companies are intentionally reducing supply.

Senator Charles Schumer said the feds should investigate.

“We ought to have the FTC look at why the oil refineries aren’t operating at full tilt,” Schumer said.

However, his long term solution is much more radical. He wants to take on big oil, break up the big companies into several smaller ones.

“We now have only about four large companies. That means when prices go up they go up much faster and when the come down it’s much slower,” Schumer said.

CBS 2’s Kramer asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo if he might consider a temporary tax holiday to give consumers some relief, but he had another idea, going after stations that may be raising prices more than they should.

“To the extent that the state does have jurisdiction there shouldn’t be any gas gouging or exploitation of the situation,” Cuomo said.

At $4.89 per gallon, one gas station on the Hutchinson River Parkway isn’t getting many customers. You have to be pretty desperate to pay that kind of money.

Because it’s on the parkway the station is allowed to charge higher prices. Nevertheless, Kramer reported seeing motorists drive away without getting gas when they saw the pump price. One man who did stop to get gas said he didn’t have a choice.

“It’s ridiculous. I’m bringing this car down to my son in Virginia on a Marine base,” he said.

So how much higher can the price go? Some analysts say it could go up another 20 to 50 cents per gallon.

According to the Automobile Association of America, the average price for gas in New York City on Wednesday was $4.09. On Long Island, it was $4.04.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …