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GAS PRICES SPIKE: Whitley County pumps surge 25 cents overnight; motorists intent on White House plan

February 23, 2012

COLUMBIA CITY – Gasoline prices in Whitley County surged 25 cents overnight to $3.69 a gallon, causing Thursday morning consternation for local motorists.

Questions abound for tight-budgeted citizens who have been told to brace for $4 per gallon prices by Memorial Day – and perhaps $5 this summer.

As if on cue, the White House is scheduled to address American gas prices later Thursday.

President Barack Obama is confronting Americans' anxiety over rising gasoline prices by drawing attention to his energy policies and taking credit for rising oil and gas production, a greater mix of energy sources and decreased consumption.

Obama is heading to Florida on Thursday to promote an energy strategy that the administration says will reduce dependence on foreign oil in the long term. But Obama's pitch will also have a subtext: that the federal government can do little to halt the current rise in gasoline prices.

Obama will speak at the University of Miami and tour the school's Industrial Assessment Center, which trains students as industrial energy-efficiency experts. The program is one of 24 across the country.

White House advisers believe Obama needs to address the recent spike in gasoline prices, even though they see it as a cyclical occurrence. The current $3.58 per gallon is the highest price at the pump ever for this time of year.

Obama aides worry that the rise in prices could sharply reverse U.S. economic gains and Obama's political standing.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that though Obama's approval rating has improved, 58 percent of those polled disapprove of what the president is doing on gas prices.

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