(04/11/2008)
By Bob Weaver

The US Energy Department says the price of gasoline will likely top $4 a gallon this summer.

Oil company executives, testifying before Congress, said such prices will likely make Americans think twice about hitting the road this summer.

The oil companies are making record-breaking profits, and their CEOs being paid record-breaking salaries.

While a few congressional leaders blasted the oil companies for getting billions of dollars of tax breaks (given to them by Congress) and billions of dollars of what is generally called corporate welfare, the focus seemed to be on the driving public to change their habits and try and buy more fuel efficient cars.

The executives during Congressional hearings defended the "free market" costs of gasoline and high salaries that managed the profits.

High prices and a weak economy are expected to cut demand for gasoline by about 0.4 percent during the peak summer driving season, said the department's Energy Information Administration.

Average monthly gas prices will peak around $3.60 a gallon in June, the EIA said, but the price will peak much higher at times, likely exceeding the $4 mark.

A few Wayne County WV stations had gasoline at $3.78 a gallon this week.

Diesel prices are already averaging more than $4 a gallon nationwide.


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