No relief in sight at gas pump

HOUSTON The soaring crude prices are taking local drivers for a ride. Gasoline prices in the Houston area are hovering around $3 and we are not even in the peak driving season. People are feeling the pain everywhere, not just at the pump, but even shopping for everyday items at the grocery store.

"Everything is going up," said shopper Adrienne Underwood. "I continue to buy the same things we just have to cut back on other things like not taking the kids to chucky cheese as much."

It's a 'Catch 22' for one shopper trying to save. He shops around for good prices, but tries not to drive around too much.

"I try to group my trips, and not drive more than is necessary and also try to shop for the best price," said concerned Houstonian Tom Campbell.

The average price for unleaded gas in Houston rose to $3.08 today, but Eyewitness News spotted gas for $3.31 a gallon on the southwest side, and one consumer is not optimistic.

"I think they'll probably go up to $4 a gallon by mid-summer," said Harold Younger.

"(I'm) not driving as much for sure," said Underwood. "I find myself walking a little bit more. If I'm only getting a few items and I'll walk as opposed to driving."

The shoppers and drivers we talked to say they'll just continue to tighten their belts. But at some point, they'll be working, just to pay to drive there.

"It's horrible, you know. How do they expect you to do your job, when you have to pay most of your money in gas," said concerned Houstonian Christian Jung.

In an OPEC meeting overseas the cartel said it would not increase production of oil saying high U.S. gas prices are a result of economic mismanagement in the states.

President Bush spoke earlier this week and clearly doesn't approve of that decision.

"I think it's a mistake to have your biggest customer's economy slow down, or your biggest customers' economies slowing down as a result of high energy prices," said President Bush.

Unfortunately, for consumers a top energy department official says that the peak in oil prices is still yet to come.

The national average for a gallon of unleaded gas is up to $3.19 a gallon and industry experts expect gas prices to peak this spring, but above the record set last year in May, of $3.23 a gallon.

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