Gas Prices Take Center Stage for South Floridians

South Floridians talk about high gas prices as the prices at the pump become new line of attack for Republican presidential hopefuls

By Gilma Avalos and Lisa Orkin Emmanuel
|  Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012  |  Updated 8:36 PM EDT
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The high price of gas is fueling frustrations at the pump in South Florida.

The high price of gas is fueling frustrations at the pump in South Florida.

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The high price of gas is fueling frustrations at the pump in South Florida.

"Its outrageous but we gotta pay," a Miami cab driver was overheard saying as he pulled up to a gas station where a gallon of regular was $4.39.

Gas prices have never been higher this time of year. In Miami-Dade the prices have already surpassed the $4 mark. Prices are flirting with $4 in Broward. Analysts say prices could reach $4.25 a gallon by April.

"Gas is important. I commute to school. So it's necessary for me to price that into my budget. If it keeps getting excessively higher, how am I going to get to class?" said Florida International University student Karen Morris.

As that gas bill inches up Republicans are rolling out the fuel debate as a new line of attack in the 2012 presidential campaign. Though there isn't much of a choice at the pump, Republicans are reminding voters of the choices they do have at the polls.

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is pushing his "Drill Here. Drill Now"  Facebook petition.   Asking the president to bring a gallon of gas back to $2.50 by building the Keystone XL Pipeline,which the Obama administration rejected last month.

At a rally in Ohio, Rick Santorum cited Obama for failing to drill aggressively for more oil and gas at home, warning drivers that they should start bracing themselves for $5 a gallon.

"All the prices of things are up now. Hope and change? There's no hope and change that's good," said Mark Small.

The gas talk comes at a time when the president has seen an uptick in his approval rating, hitting the 50 percent mark. There has also been some positive news on the economic front. The country's latest job numbers are better than expected and the payroll cut has been extended.

A man who said he would vote for Obama again in 2012 told NBC 6 he believes it is unfair to point the finger at the president for current gas prices when so many other factors come into play.

It is still unclear what role the gas debate will play in the 2012 presidential race. The stage is already set for a pricey Spring. Gas prices typically rise in March and April and South Floridians should be ready to shell out even more for gas.

To see gas prices in your area click here.

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