Despite a White House warning that gasoline prices could hit three-dollars a gallon this summer, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is trying to stay optimistic about fuel costs. The republican says he has information that foreign oil producers will boost production in July, which would lower prices. He says OPEC wants to make sure the gas prices don’t get too high so they don’t get blamed for the increase and consumers use less.American petroleum industry officials are blaming ethanol for the high gas prices, calling corn-based ethanol a “designer” fuel which detracts from gasoline. Grassley says that’s just wrong, as the oil companies are “demagoging” any new fuel because they don’t control it.Some predictions show gasoline prices will rise five-percent this summer as compared to last summer, or about seven or eight-cents a gallon. Grassley says ethanol is not at fault as it should cost five-cents a gallon less than other fuels.David Downing, a fuel data analyst at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says higher gas prices likely won’t effect summer vacation plans for most Americans. Predictions indicate summer travel will be up one-percent from last year. Downing says gas supplies are low and that’s why prices are high.Downing says Americans are no longer conserving fuel, they’re wasting it, and the increased demand has radically cut into supply.Gas prices in the Chicago area are already at two-dollars a gallon. Most Iowa gas stations are averaging around a dollar-69, but some areas are in the mid-one-70s.
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