Minnesota drivers should be prepared for gasoline prices to hit $2 a gallon by the Fourth of July, according to Ted Brausen, president of the Minnesota Service Station Association.
Prices around the state, which rose to almost $1.70 a gallon for regular unleaded in the past week, have jumped to $1.79 in some parts of the state, including the Brainerd lakes area.
Analysts say worldwide demand for oil is still ahead of production, and that is forcing up prices.
''I think right now we're operating under some tight supplies, and demand doesn't seem to have dropped off at all,'' said Darrel Bunge, executive director of the Minnesota Petroleum Council.
''Our customers are not real happy,'' said Brausen, who has been in the business for 23 years and owns four Twin Cities Texaco stations. ''Unfortunately, we make the same amount of money on gasoline (now) as we did at 99 cents a gallon. I'd much rather be at 99 cents than $1.79 or $1.69. People are happier.''
Brausen said some people are reacting to the prices by driving off without paying. ''I think people think they're getting back at the oil companies, but they're not,'' he said.
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