By Carolyn Gusoff

MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — After pandemic lows, we’re now seeing some of the highest gas prices in years.

While there’s debate over what’s to blame for it, there’s no disputing fuel prices are impacting the bottom line for a lot of families.

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CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff was there Monday as one gas station worker was in the process of raising the price.

“You’re raising the price right now?” she asked.

The price was rising at the gas pump in front of her eyes to the highest level in seven years.

“It’s disgusting. It’s hurting everyone,” one person said.

“I’ve gone up a dollar and a half over the past year. Now I have to go to a smaller car. I can’t use a bigger truck,” said another.

The national average is $3.32, and it’s 10 cents high in New York, after rock-bottom prices during the COVID shutdown.

Now, energy demand is back, with more people driving, and supply hasn’t kept up, driving crude oil prices up.

“Global market forces affecting the price of crude oil. Very simply, OPEC not producing more. Investors, seeing these things, pouring money, billions into crude oil futures, jacking up the price, raising the price of gasoline for us all,” said Robert Sinclair of AAA Northeast.

Fifty dollars more per month to fill up your tank than last year.

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One contractor says he’ll have to raise his prices.

“Gas costs a lot of money, so the prices of construction has to go up,” said Dominic Vissichelli of Commercial Contractors Corp.

Andy Harris, with the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, blames the president’s climate change-focused energy policies.

“We have come from energy independence to now being dependent on foreign oil again, and that’s why the price is going up, and it’s difficult to get product,” Harris said.

But others say presidential policies have little to do with a global price surge.

“People are coming back to pre-COVID world, so we have to keep in mind that the entire world is experiencing this,” said Payne Institute for Public Police Energy Analyst Patricia Schouker.

There’s no debate that there’s pain at the pump.

“We like to travel, even to Manhattan, or all the way out east, and you think about it sometimes,” said Holbrook resident Mike Turo. “A lot of times you just change your plans. It’s unfortunate.”

“It’s going to affect their ability to live, because to pay for gasoline, they are going to have to cut back in some other area,” Sinclair said.

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Even folks who drive electric, or don’t drive at all, will be impacted, because the price of diesel is also up. That’s the truck fuel having a ripple effect on consumer prices across the board.

Carolyn Gusoff