Majority Of Wisconsites Say High Gas Prices Have Changed Their Lives

More than two-thirds of Wisconsinites who responded to a new poll say high gasoline prices have changed their driving habits, and half of the respondents said the prices have caused them financial hardship.

Sixty percent of the 600 people who responded to the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute's telephone survey last week said lawmakers should eliminate the state's gas minimum markup law. That law requires that service stations charge at least six percent more than what they paid for the gasoline.

About a third of respondents said they blame domestic oil companies for the price run-ups, and a little more than a third said they expect gas prices will keep rising over the next six months.

Institute president James Miller says the findings reflect a sense among people that gas prices are spiraling out of control.

But Erin Roth of the Wisconsin Petroleum Council says the industry isn't to blame.

He says hurricanes Katrina and Rita "crippled" the industry's ability to make gasoline and ship it, tightening supplies ... but prices are coming down as people use less gas and imported oil flows into the country.

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