JULY 31, 2006 - Posted at 3:09 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR - First District Congressman Marion Berry released a new study this afternoon outlining the impact of high gasoline prices on northeast Arkansas families over the last five years. The study, prepared by the House Committee on Government Reform, shows a dramatic increase in gasoline prices since 2001, further emphasizing the need for the U.S. to become energy independent, according to Berry.
"After five years of energy policies that put oil company profits first, our families in Arkansas are carrying an overwhelming and unnecessary burden in rising gasoline costs," said Berry. "Our government must also conduct a serious anti-trust investigation into the consolidation of the big oil companies," he added.
The study finds that:
-Average gas prices in northeast Arkansas have increased for four straight years, from an average of $1.22 (per gallon) in 2001 to $2.84 currently. This is a 133 percent increase, which is almost ten times the rate of inflation.
-The rising cost of gasoline requires two-car families in Arkansas to pay an average of $1,970 more in 2006 than they did in 2001. This will cost Arkansas drivers about $2 billion more this year than in 2001, or $167 million on average per month.
-In Jonesboro, high gas prices will cost all drivers an extra $27 million this year, and each family about $1,500 more than in 2001. In West Memphis, high gas prices will cost all drivers an extra $24 million this year, and each family about $1,840 more than in 2001.