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Klobuchar cites figures showing higher gas in county

WORTHINGTON -- You don't need to point to a study to know that gas prices in southwest Minnesota are rising. But U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar is using a report showing residents of Nobles, Cottonwood, Murray and Jackson counties are paying particularly high gasoline prices to call for a "gas gouging penalty."

"It's not the only solution. It's just one thing among many solutions," said the Hennepin County Attorney on Monday.

The Democratic senatorial hopeful also chided national leaders for their failure to offer incentives for investment in homegrown renewable energy sources. Some tax breaks for oil companies should be repealed, she said, while touting southwest Minnesota's "aggressive" advocacy for ethanol, biodiesel and wind energies.

"This is the new frontier, and southwest Minnesota is on the cutting edge," Klobuchar said.

According to April 25 figures released by the Klobuchar campaign and based on the National Gas Temperature Map, the metro area of Minnesota averaged $2.81 for each gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on April 26. That compared to a high of $2.83 in northeast Minnesota and $2.82 in the southwest portion of the state, but Nobles County averaged $2.86 per gallon. Cottonwood County averaged $2.84, Murray and Jackson $2.83, Rock $2.81 and Pipestone $2.79.

Klobuchar said last week that prices had risen 24 cents in a two-week period.

"When I get out and talk to people at the gas stations, they've just had it," Klobuchar said. "They're telling me they're only filling half their tanks, they're telling me it costs $40 to fill their trucks. Some of them are telling me it costs $50 to fill their trucks. They're worried about the way it's going to affect their families and their summers."

Klobuchar isn't alone among politicians noticing rising American dissatisfaction with gasoline prices. President Bush recently explained that he wants Congress to allow him to raise mileage standards, but has also indicated that he doesn't believe major oil companies are intentionally overcharging drivers. The president has also said taxing oil industry profits is not the answer.

When asked if she believes Washington is listening intently enough to drivers, Klobuchar is quick to respond.

"No," she said. "That's why I want to go there. They've had years to do something about this. And they just haven't done it. Talk is cheap. But gas isn't."

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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