National Gas Price Average Tops $4 a Gallon
BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.
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RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, the heat is still on. I'm Rachel Martin.
MIKE PESCA, host:
And I'm Mike Pesca. It's Tuesday, June 10th, 2008. How you feelin'?
MARTIN: I'm feeling sleepy. And I realize, everyone, that we talked about how hot it was yesterday on the East Coast, but guess what, it's still hot. And it's keeping me awake at night! So much so that last night I took one of our producers' suggestions, and when I couldn't sleep because it was so bloody hot, I went with my pajamas on into the shower and took a cold shower, soaked my pajamas completely wet, and went and plopped right in front of the fan, and tried to fall asleep.
PESCA: That was a producer's suggestion for giving you pneumonia?
MARTIN: It was. Lord's word.
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PESCA: Is this a producer who's after the co-hosting gig? Has an eye on sitting in that very chair?
MARTIN: Wants my job?
PESCA: You know what's funny? It's like, think back to 50 years ago when no one had air conditioners. How'd they do it?
MARTIN: They died.
PESCA: I think it's just that, like, society knew that you were going to be hot, and you know, they made accommodation, but now, I think people assume that there'll be air conditioners everywhere, so you're supposed to wear a sports jacket...
MARTIN: It is. It's all about psychological expectation.
PESCA: Right. So in places like, you know, the Caribbean where everyone's going to be hot, people wear shorts and it's seen as fine, but in New York where it's only hot, you know, 30 days a year, people go around the bend, and sweat their pajamas off, I suppose.
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PESCA: All right, so, that's it for the heat. Now let's talk about four-dollar gas, other great things in the United States right now.
PESCA: And - and! - this isn't even in the United States, this is in India, but cows are being killed, and you'll never guess who the killer is. A BPP special investigation, which we stole from All Things Considered.
MARTIN: We're also going to talk about a movement to get soldiers who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder awarded Purple Hearts. It's being discussed in some military circles. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has even weighed in on the matter. We're going to talk with a reporter for the Army Times about how likely this actually is.
PESCA: Also, a movement to save a TV show from imminent cancellation. The thing is, the show hasn't even started yet. And there's no sign that it's going to be cancelled. It could be a runaway hit. The show's called "Dollhouse," but the creator is this guy, Joss Whedon, and it turns out, when he creates shows, people fall in love with them, and then they get cancelled. The organizer of the group trying to pre-save the show will be joining us, and we will get today's headlines in just a minute, but first...
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PESCA: You can call it indignation at the gas station.
PESCA: Totally screwed over light, sweet crude.
MARTIN: Mm, crude indeed. How about just cruel fuel?
PESCA: But we have our own unique name for it, a BPP-branded property, Painfulness at the Pumping Station.
MARTIN: OK, how about just pain at the pump? That's a good one. As gas prices just keep on climbing, on Sunday, a gallon of regular gas passed the four-dollar-a-gallon mark for the first time. And today, the national average for a gallon of regular is up to $4.04.
PESCA: Gas rose as oil prices retreated slightly yesterday to 134 dollars a barrel, but analysts say if prices remain around last week's record high of $139 a barrel, then prices at the pump will likely go up another 10 cents in coming days.
MARTIN: Leaving for a weeklong trip to Europe, President Bush said he will be monitoring the situation from abroad, and discussing it with America's allies.
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President GEORGE W. BUSH: We'll remind our friends and allies overseas that we're all too dependent on hydrocarbons. We must work to advance technologies to help us become less dependent on hydrocarbons.
PESCA: The president's remarks are a reversal from two months ago, when he acted surprised by the idea of four-dollar-a-gallon gas.
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Unidentified Male Reporter: What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline? A lot of people facing...
President BUSH: Wait, what did you say? You're predicting four-dollar-a-gallon gas...
Unidentified Male Reporter: A number of analysts are predicting four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.
President BUSH: That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.
MARTIN: Well, you can bet he's hearing about it now.
Unidentified Female Reporter #1: So the pain at the pump again now, ouch.
Unidentified Female Reporter #2: Pain at the pump. That's it.
Unidentified Female Reporter #3: Pain at the pump.
Unidentified Female Reporter #4: Pain at the pump hardly describes it.
PESCA: Wait, I thought we invented that. Oh, no.
PESCA: The president has suggested increasing supply by opening up oil drilling in places like Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but in the meantime, Americans are find their own ways to cope. Hyper-milers claim they can double their gas mileage just by changing their habits behind the wheel. They can go exactly at the speed limit. They can coast down hills. They can occasionally cruise through a stop sign. Yeah? Doesn't sound that smart. Curtis Adams (ph) is one of these guys.
Mr. CURTIS ADAMS (Commuter): Some people do it for environmental reasons. That's not on the top of my list, honestly. The environment I'm concerned about is my wallet.
PESCA: Commuters aren't the only ones suffering. An East Texas-based, Meals on Wheels program says they'll have to cut hot food deliveries to seniors down to one day a week because of rising gas costs. Executive Director Lois Durant says her staff will now deliver one hot meal and four frozen meals, instead of making daily trips.
Ms. LOIS DURANT (Executive Director, Meals on Wheels, Palestine, Texas): We don't have the volunteers to begin with, but we just can't recruit them for sure now that we've got the cost of gas being a factor.
MARTIN: And BPP listeners have been telling us on our blog what they're doing to cope with rising fuel prices. MF, who lives in Los Angeles, paid $4.41 a gallon yesterday, and says, quote, "I've already given up my coffee-bean-slash-Starbucks vice. Home-brewed coffee has become my best friend."
PESCA: And aboyandhispiano says, I've decided to sell my vehicle and pay down some debt I would otherwise be increasing by wasting money on gasoline and car repair.
MARTIN: BC says, got my wife to quit her job and take one where I work. Just cut our gas costs in half. And next week, we'll start riding the bikes to get here.
PESCA: So, question is, what are you giving up for four-dollar gas? The thread is still open on our blog. You can go to npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now let's get some more of today's headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.
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