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President Obama talks gas prices with AAA

Richmond, Va. (WTVR) – The price of gas continues to go up in Central Virginia.

It’s  up a dime in just the last week, and at least three stations in our area are now selling regular for more than four dollars a gallon.

Is there anything President Obama can do?

On Thursday, following his speech on energy in Cushing, Oklahoma, the president spoke with a representative with AAA.

When asked about the country’s frustration with rising gas prices, Mr. Obama said  he empathized, but stressed it’s not going to go away in a decade or two.

Martha Meade with AAA Mid-Atlantic  believes the president is being realistic.

“This is not something we can solve overnight. Even if we drilled domestically, it’s going to take time for that to become a reality and impact gas prices, so it`s certainly not an easy issue.”, she said.

The president also said we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil – by reducing consumption – and encouraging the use of alternative fuel vehicles, making sure there are enough charging stations so people don’t get stuck.

AAA  says it’s responding by testing a roadside service vehicle capable of charging electric cars.

On Friday, the oil industry laid out a proposal they say will instantly lower gas prices.

It calls for more domestic oil production, fewer environmental regulations and not raising taxes on the industry.

The industry says if President Obama merely announced such a plan, oil prices would drop overnight.

“Well, there’s probably some truth to that. Prices right now are driven by the futures market, by  speculators… how far is the big question?”, Meade said.

While Meade agrees that markets are often driven by expectations, the president would first have to agree with the oil industry’s proposal – and, some of those demands are steep, especially drilling in restricted environmental areas.