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Gas prices hit the stratosphere

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Labor Day is traditionally one of the busiest motoring holidays of the year. Americans clamber to the nation's highways and byways in record numbers whether gas prices are prohibitive or not.

This year prices are at their peak partly due to Hurricane Isaac, which forced the closure of oil refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The average price of regular gas nationally was $3.83 per gallon last Friday, a 21 cent gain from just one year ago according to AAA. This Labor Day's cost will beat the previous record of $3.68 set in 2008, the non-profit automobile association said.

Fuel costs have increased an average of 31 cents a gallon in August alone and 11 cents since Aug. 22. That was the day meteorologists predicted Hurricane Isaac would indeed reach land on the Gulf Coast threatening local oil refineries and forcing their closure.

AAA nevertheless estimated 33 million Americans would vacation over 50 miles from home this weekend. That means approximately 28.2 million people by automobile alone – not to mention other modes of transportation. Car travelers will see an increase of 500,000 or more compared to 2011.

The costly gas prices have changed many people's traveling habits away from cars. More Americans than ever will fly. Their thinking is that longer trips are actually less costly by air than the roads. This has seen a record increase in rental car revenues.

What is never mentioned when gas prices spike as they are this weekend. The reason being gas stations holding prices at lower levels run out quickly forcing them to buy additional supplies at much higher wholesale prices to replace depleted allotments.

Other major factors include the massive refinery explosion and fire in Venezuela along with an overall increase in world oil prices.

GOP candidate Mitt Romney's plan to increase domestic drilling within the U.S may persuade many voters to rethink the nation's energy policies and environmental restrictions.

This Labor Day memory comes just eight weeks before the election.

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*** Look for a second visit with R. Emery Tyrrell of The American Spectator next week.

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