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White House: No short-term fix to high fuel prices

The White House said on Monday there was no short-term fix to record-high gasoline prices and the United States should try to increase domestic production and seek alternative fuel sources.

The average US retail price for gasoline jumped 9.5 cents over the past week to a new high of $3.60 a gallon, the federal Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said gasoline prices were “entirely too high, but I think it would be disingenuous and unfortunate for American consumers for them to be led to believe that there is a short-term fix. There is not going to be one.”

The United States must try to increase domestic production and exploration in environmentally friendly ways, she said.

“We are very aware of the high price of gasoline and the impact it is having on people across the country, and on businesses in particular,” Perino said.

Truckers drove their big rigs through downtown Washington and held a rally at the Capitol to protest high diesel fuel prices.

The average price for diesel fuel reached a record $4.18 a gallon after rising 3.4 cents over the past week, the EIA said.

It costs about $1,200 at the pump to fill up a tractor trailer. Rising fuel prices also could increase the cost of food, retail products and other goods transported by trucks.

Perino said it would take time to develop technologies that will allow for vehicles to travel farther on a gallon of gasoline, “but we're trying to move farther and faster, especially in regards to SUVs, light trucks and passenger cars in the meantime.”

The administration last week announced higher vehicle fuel efficiency requirements for US cars and trucks.

“Increasing supply in the face of very high demand, I should say high and growing demand, and demand that's growing around the world, is one thing that we need to look at,” Perino said.

“But the other thing is increasing efficiencies. And I think that the trucking industry and the airline industry feel these impacts quite acutely,” Perino said. (Reuters)