Gas Prices and Supply

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Hurricane Rita is pounding the Florida panhandle; not the storm itself, but the residual affect it’s having on gasoline supply and demand. Once again we're seeing prices near the $3.00 a gallon mark.

Harley Griffis runs a computer repair business out of Bonifay. He says gas prices are making it increasingly harder to make a profit.

Harley says, "We're trying to keep the prices down as low as possible on service calls."

Service calls get even more taxing on days like today when Harley forgets a tool back at the office.

"I had a business call in Marianna. Driving there and back, that's gonna put a hurting on gas for me. I don't have a choice. I have to pay it," he says.

Drivers everywhere braced themselves this weekend for another major boost at the pump. Prices went down briefly, but to the dismay of consumers they're still hovering around the pre-Katrina spike.

Cynthia Garrett says, "The gas is going up, but your paycheck is not."

And what about the major price differences between stations since Katrina hit the Gulf? For Patricia Wilson, the whole thing is just confusing.

Patricia says, "I didn't know some of them could be 20 cents apart. I thought they could only keep them within a certain range."

Then there are the shortages that vendors say is caused by everyone getting gas in fear of a shortage.

One gas station closed for two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. The weekend after Rita they're open, but selling diesel only.

Though Rita did minimal damage to oil refineries in Texas, experts say don't expect gas to go back to pre-Katrina prices anytime soon.

It’s more motivation for Harley not to forget a tool back the office.

Sixteen Texas oil refineries are still offline because of Hurricane Rita. President Bush is asking people to conserve, but he also says he's prepared to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve to ease some of the pain at the pump.