$4 Gas

Retail gas prices continued to climb on Monday after hitting a national average of $4 a gallon over the weekend. As the new work week got underway, distributors and retailers hiked prices in response to a record rally late last week on oil futures markets. As part of a comprehensive package to rein in runaway gas prices, Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a tax on oil company profits. "I think if we can burst that bubble it might drive prices down. It's something we've got to take a hard look

Retail gas prices continued to climb on Monday after hitting a national average of $4 a gallon over the weekend. As the new work week got underway, distributors and retailers hiked prices in response to a record rally late last week on oil futures markets. As part of a comprehensive package to rein in runaway gas prices, Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a tax on oil company profits. "I think if we can burst that bubble it might drive prices down. It's something we've got to take a hard look on and it's something we've got to move aggressively on. Congress has to go seven days a week 24 hours to address this issue," he told WPTZ News. In response to record high prices, consumers are cutting back on their consumption of gas. One measure of how record high prices have caused consumers to travel less is that Vermont gas tax revenues were down almost 5 percent in May. The amount going to state coffers from diesel fuel taxes was down almost 28 percent, according to The Associated Press.

The Senate last month passed a measure cosponsored by Sanders to suspend oil deposits in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supplies and lower prices for gasoline and other fuels. At the time, Sanders said, "We need a comprehensive approach to resolve the current energy crisis. In the long term, we must aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and foreign oil into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Short term, we must take some very immediate steps to protect the American people against the soaring prices of gas and oil." He called at the time for a tax on oil profit and suggested curbs on financial institutions and hedge funds that are speculating in oil futures and driving the price higher that it otherwise would be.

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas now stands at a record $4.04, the Department of Energy announced on Monday afternoon. That's 40 cents more than just one month ago, and nearly a dollar higher than at this time last year.