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Rising Gas Prices

The average price of a gallon in Fresno is $3.86. It was $3.60 just one month ago.
Gas prices are rising in the U.S. for two main reasons.

One is the uncertainty in Ukraine has caused concerns that the country won't be exporting as much corn to make ethanol, which is in our gas.  The other factor is Daylight Saving Time.  An extra hour of sunlight causes people to drive more, therefore, increasing demand at the pump.
  
Gabrielle Fuentes was not happy to pump nearly $42 of gas into his commuter car.

"Gas lasts me probably about a week and a half or so and that really puts a crunch in my budget and my family's budget," said Gabrielle Fuentes of Fresno.

Gas and diesel have become so valuable over the years people are stealing it left and right.

"It's a menace for the tri-county area," said Lt. Mark Gist of the Tulare Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Monday night, on Highway 63 and Avenue 456 near Orange Cove, fuel theft on a ranch almost turned deadly as two Tulare County Sheriff's Deputies confronted the suspect.  Investigators say he rammed a patrol car with his vehicle while fleeing the scene.

"During that whole process, shots were fired by our officers at the suspect and the suspect managed to drive off at a high rate of speed," said Lt. Gist.

Deputies went on to arrest the suspect Tuesday.  He is 42 year old Rodney Harp of Dinuba.

Grower Tim Samarin farms several thousand acres on Fresno County's West Side and has been victimized by fuel thieves in the past.

"You can only do so much.  If somebody wants something they're going to take it," said Tim Samarin, a farmer.

Samarin says all he can do is take simple protective measures.

"Not having so much fuel in tractors that you leave out, keeping things near lit areas and it more occupied areas, things of that nature," said Samarin.

Sadly, Samarin doesn't think his property will ever be safe.

"Until you get stiffer penalties, you're going to see it rise and rise and rise.  You just slap them on the wrist and it's going to keep happening until you actually make it a criminal offense," said Samarin.

Analysts say as long as crude oil prices don't skyrocket and the Ukraine situation doesn't get worse, gas prices shouldn't change much until may.  That's when the more expensive summer blend gas enters the market.
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