Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- It's the talk around the pump in the northland.
Gas prices on the rise ahead of the usual spring spike.
With prices for fuel averaging around 3.60 a gallon in Minnesota, Al Franken is pointing to excessive oil speculation as factor that's artificially inflating the price of gas.
But is this move by Senator Franken a call to action, or just election year politics.
Filling up in 2012 is becoming a real pain.
"Everything I make is going in my gas tank"
"I'm very concerned because it really hits my pocket book"
"With the amount of driving I do it's costing a lot more to commute back and forth to Duluth"
The prematurely rising cost of fuel this year has Senator Al Franken pointing his finger at excessive oil speculation in the stock market.
Corporations and hedge funds inserting big bucks into long-term speculative commodities, distorting the market and driving up the price of, in this case, oil.
Franken is urging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to limit excessive oil speculation. Some northland political analysts feel the timing is suspicious.
"It is interesting it is coming at this point when people are fearful that gas is going up over five dollars a gallon and of course the election is coming up and the Senator is in the party that the president is"
But, Atkins says whatever the motive, Franken's complaints are valid.
"This should have been done the last time oil was at four bucks a barrel, now it's been three years"
But, until real action is taken, northlanders will have to see the numbers on there bank statements to believe it.
"I don't know why we are allowing futures trading on something so important to the average consumer as gasoline"
And that will take strong action in Washington D.C.
In his statement today Franken also called for increasing the production of domestic bio diesel to lessen our dependence on foreign oil companies.