Gas price hike possible across the Heartland?

Gas price hike possible across the Heartland?
By: CJ Cassidy

Oil giant BP shut down the nation's largest oil fields in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, knocking 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day, off the market.

The pipeline was taken offline early Sunday because of severe corrosion and it could be down for months.

While the government says the shutdown will not put the squeeze on gas supplies, analysts say expect to start paying more at the pump almost immediately.

Prices in Cape Girardeau hover at about $2.80 a gallon on average, but a local retailer says you can expect that price to go up by 15 to 20 cents in the next three or four days.

People we spoke with, couldn't be more upset.

"We passed out a bunch of fliers, and call ourselves Grandma's Little Helpers," Jon Ridings, who operates a lawn mower service says.

But thanks to high prices at the pump, the Grandma's Little Helper doesn't even bother starting up his lawn mower some days.

"We had to cut down the radius where we can drive. I used to go to Lexington Road, and farther away , but my truck's not the best as far as gas mileage goes, and that's what I have to drive to get to places," he says.

Ridings saw his income slashed in half compared to last year.

Now with prices set to rise even higher because of the pipeline shutting down, he and other consumers brace for the worst.

"The higher it goes, the less money I make," Ridings says.

"It cost me $50.02 to fill up my gas tank in my truck," another driver said.

"The oil companies see any reduction in supply, and they feel justified in raising the price," David Lemmon who owns the Basic Fuel chain in Southeast Missouri explains.

He says you haven't seen anything, yet.

"Over a three to four day period, you can expect a 15 to 20 cent gallon increase," he adds.

That has entrepreneurs like Jon Ridings, thinking about parking his mower for good.

David Lemmon's advice: fill up your cars now to avoid those high rates at least for a few days.