Gas grief: Pain at the pump on High Desert

Oregon gas prices highest so far this year

C.O. gas price pinch packs punch

BEND, Ore. - The price of gas in Oregon is at its highest point of the year and Central Oregonians are feeling the pinch at pump.

"It hurts -- it's expensive," Bend resident Bob Wade said Monday.

Add the unrest in Iraq fueling speculation, and travel experts say it could be an expensive summer on the road.

"If it continues, it's going to affect the crude prices  -- there's no doubt about that," AAA Bend Service Center Supervision Cee Lee said. "We've already seen a slow increase."

Oregon gas prices are up 10 cents a gallon over last summer -- averaging close to $4 a gallon, and nearly 50 cents more than the national average.

It's enough to make visitors from Idaho wince.

"On our way to the coast, we were paying like $3.89," Idaho resident Nancy Anthony said. 

But even pulling a large trailer behind her truck, Anthony and her husband are still planning a vacation trip to Louisiana.

"I don't want to cancel any trips because of this," Anthony said.

Lee said so far, many Americans agree.

"We're not seeing a letdown of rubber meeting the highway," Lee said. "People are traveling. They have their trips planned, and I think that's just a lot of pent-up (demand) -- and not going in previous years."

Lee said she couldn't speculate how high prices could soar.

But travelers said they know the tipping point that could keep them home.

"If it goes up to $5 a gallon, I'll probably sell my truck and get something more fuel efficient," Paul said.

The pinch at the pump is likely to produce more grumbling as the summer and prices heat up

To find the citizen-reported cheapest gas prices in the area, visit KTVZ.COM's Pump Patrol.

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