On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez hyped rising gas prices as she teased an upcoming segment and declared: "Still ahead for us, more pain at the pump. You'll be paying $4 a gallon or even more." Though $4 a gallon may happen, asserting that it will be that high, or higher, in the near future certainly paints an overly dire picture. While introducing the segment, Rodriguez went on to highlight one gas station in California with prices far above the average of $3.17 a gallon across the country: "It may be hard to believe, but seeing is believing. Take a look at that, regular unleaded at $5.19 a gallon at one California station."
Rodriguez talked to analyst Tom Kloza of the Oil Information Price Service and began by asking about the rise in gas prices, and admitting some of her earlier exaggeration: "Luckily nationwide we're not seeing gas at $5.19, but we hit a record high yesterday, $3.17 a gallon, which is 69 cents higher than a year ago. What's going on here?"
Rodriguez also talked about President Bush’s effort to get OPEC to increase crude oil supply: "The president is trying to fix this by getting OPEC, the countries that produce petroleum, to raise their oil supply. Their not budging, saying ‘that's not the problem, it's the economy.’" She followed up by asking Kloza: "While they're fighting it out, what are we supposed to do? Because at this point no one can afford gas."
Here is the full transcript of the segment:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: We know from talking to voters around the country that the number one issue on their minds is the economy. And there is bad news to report on that front this morning. Oil prices hit a record high yesterday, and gas is now averaging $3.17 a gallon, 69 cents higher than a year ago. We'll talk to an expert about what this means for you and me.
RODRIGUEZ: Still ahead for us, more pain at the pump. You'll be paying $4 a gallon or even more.
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: It may be hard to believe, but seeing is believing. Take a look at that, regular unleaded at $5.19 a gallon at one California station. Here to tell us what we have to look forward to at the pump this spring is Tom Kloza of Oil Price Information Service. Tom, good morning.
TOM KLOZA: Hi, nice to be here.
RODRIGUEZ: Luckily nationwide we're not seeing gas at $5.19, but we hit a record high yesterday, $3.17 a gallon, which is 69 cents higher than a year ago. What's going on here?
KLOZA: Well, what's going on here really is the price of crude oil. We hit $105 for crude oil, and that represented about an $18 a barrel increase since the middle of February. This isn't even the real deal for gasoline. The real deal comes at the end of this month, April and May, when we get gasoline going up on its own, irrespective of what happens to crude oil.
RODRIGUEZ: Tom, this morning we're seeing a tug-of-war. It's front-page news in The New York Times and papers around the country. The president is trying to fix this by getting OPEC, the countries that produce petroleum, to raise their oil supply. Their not budging, saying 'that's not the problem, it's the economy.' So which is it?
KLOZA: Well, I think it's a little bit of each. I mean, I think OPEC's right in saying that prices are up not just because of supply and demand but because of a lot of speculation in some of the big capital markets. But I don't think you can just sort of ask or expect to see OPEC raise production simply because you, the United States, wants to.
RODRIGUEZ: While they're fighting it out, what are we supposed to do? Because at this point no one can afford gas.
KLOZA: Well, you know, we're going to have to pay the prices, and we're going to have to pay more. The one thing that you probably won't hear from political candidates, but makes a lot of sense, is we need to have some sort of energy discipline here. We talk about energy independence, but energy discipline really needs to presage energy independence. If everyone cut back by about a half a mile or so of driving per day, and I know a lot of people say they can't, we really would swing the balance toward some products, particularly gasoline, toward -- slightly toward the oversupply category as opposed to tight supply. So, you know, we're in for a rough ride here, but hopefully we'll see some leadership from some of the candidates running for president, and they'll really level with the American public and say, 'look, we can't drill our way out of this. We can't negotiate our way out of this. We just, somewhere down the line, have to use a little bit less and be a little bit more disciplined,' and there's no downside to that.
RODRIGUEZ: Alright, Tom Kloza, appreciate your insight.
KLOZA: Take care.