Gas Prices Cause Reaction

The price of gas has reached an all-time high for regular unleaded at $2.09, leaving many customers in Meridian feeling dismayed.

"They're too high!" said Beth Dorman.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Devona Dearing. "It's gone extremely too high and people who are on a fixed income definitely can't afford it."

Perhaps that's why some customers are looking to combat the price at the pump in another way by buying a hybrid car that runs on gas and electricity.

"The demand has increased," said Will Wilkinson of John O'Neil Johnson Toyota in Meridian. "We've seen a demand; they've come out. We tracked Internet leads and I want to say, probably, we get 30 calls about them a day."

According to Toyota officials, the company's hybrid car, the Prius, almost doubles the miles per gallon of other cars its size.

Basically, this means that it gets about 60 miles a gallon, which industry officials call the driving force behind rising interest in not only that vehicle, but others like it as well.

However, there is a problem. The rising demand for these types of cars is now outpacing the supply, something which manufacturers are now working to change.

Perhaps the sooner this happens, the better. After all, analysts are predicting gas prices to stay well above $2.00 a gallon throughout the summer.

Oil prices settled slightly lower after touching a new intraday high above $57.00 a barrel. OPEC's president says the cartel could boost production by an extra half million barrels a day, but analysts say that won't be enough to put the brakes on prices.
Meanwhile, volatility in oil prices kept Wall Street on edge Thursday, and as a result stocks finished little changed. The Dow industrials slipped nearly seven points to 10,626. The NASDAQ composite inched up by two-thirds of a point and the S&P 500 went up two.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.