Gas Prices Climb 40% Since January 1st

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Knoxville (WVLT) - You're paying more than 40 percent more for a gallon of gas in East Tennessee than you were in January.

Our average price is $2.88.

High, but not as high as Lexington, their highest prices$3.20 a gallon; it’s nothing like the West Coast, but high for the southeast.

Imagine your mortgage was $1,000 in January, and then increased to more than $1,400 by May.

That's about the same percentage gas prices have jumped in the same period. Even if you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you still get a "heads up" on an increase in price.

"The state regulates, also the lender regulates, how much that can be increased. They do have a time frame to where they can possibly go ahead and apply for a fixed rate loan,” says Curt Noah, a mortgage specialist.

There's little if any warning when gas prices jump. But what if they were regulated?

"So that we could kind of maintain what our gas is going to be and know how to budget our money each month on what we're spending in gasoline,” says Maryville resident Becky Morgan.

Dr. Bill Fox is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research doesn't think regulating gas prices is quite the way to go. "There aren't really good options for regulating gasoline prices. That isn't to say there aren't some little things we could do with the margin, but in terms of having any significant influence, the market is determining that price."

Even those not so keen on government regulation are having second thoughts.

"Why are gas prices suddenly going up fifty cents since March? I'm not for government putting their hands in everything, but maybe it's time they get involved,” says Knoxvillian Bryan Tigner.

Dr. Fox notes that the prices on a lot of what we buy everyday are not regulated and is left up to supply and demand. "And I think we're by and large better off to not have the government directly intervening in the setting of prices in the market place."

At the gas stations we visited, drivers were still pumping and still wondering just how high prices will be the next time they fill up.

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