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Gas prices break records

Cory Mingo is stuck between a rock and a hard place with gasoline as his work requires both a gas-guzzling pickup and a good deal of travel.1 / 2
The price of unleaded jumped seven cents a gallon Tuesday at some area gas stations.2 / 2

It's never cost quite this much to travel in February.

According to AAA, gasoline has reached a new high for any February on record.

"I'm going to cry," said Detroit Lakes woman Danae Wothe, looking at the price. "I should have filled my tank when I first got into town this morning because now only a couple of hours later it's went up seven cents."

As of Tuesday, gas stations throughout Detroit Lakes varied in the price of regular unleaded -- anywhere from $3.49 to $3.56.

Overall, gas prices in Minnesota have jumped 5.6 cents per gallon in the past week -- an amount that pales in comparison to the national rise of 11.3 cents in the same week.

The current Minnesota average of $3.54 is just over 21 cents higher than a month ago and 10 cents higher than this time last year.

"2012 is looking increasingly like 2008," said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for "Gasoline prices are climbing aggressively as speculation drives crude oil higher; and once again, it's an election year. But this time it's the volatility in the Middle East that has everyone wondering 'How high is up?'" he added.

Cory Mingo of Vergas is one of those people wondering exactly that.

Mingo works as a builder for his brother-in-law.

"He tries to get me a little extra to cover the gas, but I drive from Vergas to Fergus Falls every day, and so it effects me a lot," said Mingo pointing to his pickup. "Every time I fill this beast up, it's over $100."

Mingo adds that he'd love to go out and buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle, but that's not an option as he tries to move him and his wife into retirement.

Rochert contractor Brad VonRuden feels that same pain, as he just spent $80 on gas getting to and from work Tuesday.

"I was in Kindred, North Dakota, this morning," said VonRuden. "I'd love to be able to work in town, but you have to go where the work is and there's not much around here."

VonRuden says the actual cost doesn't always come out of his pocket, as he includes fuel into his bid, but he says that can also come back to bite him.

"If there is somebody closer that can do the job without having to tack on a gas price, they're probably the ones who are going to get the job," he said, adding that it's nothing for him to spend $500 a week on fuel these days.

"There's just nothing you can do about it," he said.

But for Wothe there is.

She has been trying to beat the pump jump by attempting to do a little multi-tasking.

"I try to cut down my trips back and forth and take care of everything at once, whereas before I just went back and forth whenever I wanted to," said Wothe, who lives only three miles out of Detroit Lakes, "but it adds up. In fact, I think I'll start walking -- maybe this will end up being good for me," she said with a laugh.

What ended up being good for Matt McLeod is eliminating his commute almost completely.

The Lake Park man just moved to Detroit Lakes, where he works and says it's saved him at least $100 a week.

"You don't always think about it, but when you're able to quit spending all that money on fuel, you start to realize how bad it was before," said McLeod. "Otherwise, you have to just keep cutting back on other things to keep up with the fuel because you know you've gotta have it."