PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Gas prices in the area have been over $4 for a couple of weeks and, though drivers clearly aren’t happy about it, there has not been the outrage there was the last time gas went to $4 a gallon in 2008.
Consumer advocates have a number of theories about why drivers may be grumbling about prices, but don’t seem to be as angry as they did three years ago when they heckled oil company executives, cancelled travel plans and rebelled against fuel surcharges on their bills.
Jim Lardear of AAA says, for one thing, the sticker is less shocking.
“They were recently across that threshold, so this is not necessarily as new territory as it was before.”
Lardear says it’s not as easy to tag a villain as in 2008 when the price spike, right before the summer driving season, looked like pure oil company greed.
This time, the blame is being put on the commodities market.
Philadelphia’s consumer advocate Lance Haver says it’s harder to understand, but works pretty much the same way.
“The same people who crashed the economy by betting on bad mortgages are now betting on oil prices and simply greedy,” Haver said.
The good news is AAA is predicting gas prices will soon crest and begin going down.
So, are drivers less angry over gas prices now? Not necessarily.
Driver Kevin Dunnigan, who lives just outside Baltimore, says on a scale of 1 to 10, his anger over gas prices is at an 8. And he says he more outraged these days that when gas first hit $4 a gallon three years ago.
“Only because of our situation with where we are and who we’re fighting and the reason we’re fighting. They say the oil is a lot lower now per barrel. So why are our gas prices what they are when oil is going down?”
Dunnigan admits it’s tough to find a specific target for his anger, but he says he’s looking to the federal government to step in, perhaps tapping the nation’s oil reserves to give the motoring public a break on gas prices.
Reported by Pat Loeb and Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio