Gas prices hit $5 per gallon, leaders call for action

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Prices at the pump that have been skyrocketing for months have now hit $5 per gallon in some parts of the state.

“It just makes me want to throw up,” said Heather Cline, a Massachusetts resident who says she commutes to Rhode Island for work every day. Her total to fill up today: $74.86.

Sen. Jack Reed Monday morning called for action on the Food and Fuel Family Savings Act that could put $600 per family member back in the pockets of Americans.

“We could do that return to the American people in terms of a debit card that would only buy groceries and gasoline,” explained Reed.

That bill is currently pending before the Finance Committee as groceries go up 8.6% and gas rises by 38%.

“That’s just wrong at a time like this. They should not be raking windfall profits off the backs of American families,” said Rep. Jim Langevin in criticism of fuel and gas companies.

On top of impacting daily life for people like Heather, it also may mean pressing pause on her summer plans — a trickle down impact of rising gas prices that could soon impact the tourism industry. “I usually go to New Hampshire a lot, but I’m thinking of not going as often.”

At home in Rhode Island, boat owners in Warwick say the cost of filling up has them spending less time on the water. It’s an industry that the National Marine Manufactures Association brings in an estimated $170 billion per year — but this year, may see a dip in revenue.

“I don’t know how they can even think about it,” said Brian Buckless, staring at his neighbors’ boats and wondering how they fill up as he sits peacefully on his own at a slip in Warwick.

“I’ll maybe go fishing a little more, not spend so much time driving around,” he said of his summer plans. “Spend a lot more time at the dock, I guess.”

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