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      High gas prices, high anxiety

      Gas prices have been approaching the $4 mark in the Tri-States this week.

      While the region is more fortunate than parts of Florida that recently saw gas prices reach $5.89 a gallon, local residents are bracing for bad news.

      President Barack Obama confronted Americans' anxiety over rising gasoline prices by drawing attention to his energy policies and taking credit for increased oil and gas production, a greater mix of energy sources and decreased consumption.

      Obama headed to Florida on Thursday to promote an energy strategy that the administration says will reduce dependence on foreign oil in the long term.

      Obama says simply calling for more drilling is just a "bumper sticker," not a real plan for bringing down rising gas prices.

      Seeking to draw a contrast with Republican presidential hopefuls, Obama says the focus on drilling is just "a strategy to get politicians through an election."

      Obama says his administration's "all-of-the-above strategy," which includes oil, gas, wind and solar power, is the "only real solution" to the nation's energy challenges.

      Confronting public anxiety over rising gas prices, Obama says the current spike is a "painful reminder" of why developing new energy is critical to the nation's future.

      Mike Ericson has been involved in the florist business in Quincy for his entire adult life and he remembers just a few years ago when the price of gas got this high.

      He said when the price goes up, his business can't just pass the increase along to their customers.

      " It's certainly making an impact on the bottom line as you know any time fuel prices go up, we're still providing a service for the same price as we've always have had, so we just eat the added cost of the fuel," he said.

      To counteract the escalating price of gas, Ericson bought a fuel efficient delivery car and he says it gets him between 25 and 30 miles per gallon. He says his old delivery van got about eight to 10 miles.

      " I mean the economy is such that we have to keep the prices in check as much as we can and absorb as much as we can, but we knows where it's to end? $5 gas is another story," he said.

      Customers at local stations said they have changed their driving habits.

      " My youngest son plays for a travelling baseball team over the summer and that's going to take a big toll so yeah, I'm thinking reasonable price is $3.45," Denise Bland and Ron Hirschauer said, "I try to keep it on the full side and I fill up more often."

      F or now, Ericson says he plans on staying the course and hoping the price will drop. He says he doesn't want to increase his delivery fee, but it the price continues to inch upward, it might be something he has to consider.

      What are your thoughts on high gas prices? Post your comments below or join the conversation on our Facebook page here .

      (KHQA reporter Jim Whitfield contributed to the Associated Press story.)