(04/01/2006)
While USA oil companies are reaping some of the highest corporate profits in history and the world's oil market wrapped in a state of uncertainty, the price of a gallon of gas is inching upward.

Marvin Gray, president of the West Virginia Gasoline Dealers Association, says as far as he's concerned the most recent price hike is not warranted.

"There's no rhyme or reason that we can see for the increase in prices," he said.

The average price in West Virginia is $2.65, but in some parts of the state it has exceeded $2.79.

That's an increase of more than 20-cents in the last month.

"They're stepping up the use of ethanol, which is supposedly one of the reasons for the increase in the cost," says Gray.

Oil has increased to $66 a barrel.

The lack of stability in Iraq and Iran are also leading to higher prices, according to market experts.

Gray still believes one reason is greedy oil companies.

"The only thing we can see is that the oil companies didn't make enough money last year and they need to make a little more," he said.

In 2005, Exxon alone earned $33.9 billion, the most money ever made by a corporation.

He contends gas should be about $2 a gallon, based on prices after Hurricane Katrina.


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