By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Gas stations were crowded in Crescent City yesterday despite a jump in fuel prices Monday.

Prices went up by as much as 20 cents per gallon here and 40 cents per gallon in Eureka for premium grades in the past two weeks.

Local residents and tourists filling their tanks yesterday said they are affected by the jump and angry about why gas companies are pumping up prices.

andquot;It's affecting me big time. I spend more money on gas than anything else,andquot; said Jeanna Price, who works at the new Redwood Oceanfront Resort.

andquot;Going back and forth to work and lunch, it costs a lot. Where it used to cost $5, it now costs me $10 - twice as much. And that's money I could be spending on my grandkids,andquot; she added.

Drivers fueling up yesterday said they are resigned to the cost increase because there is no alternative way to fuel their cars.

Frank Ormonde, owner of Frank's Refrigeration, drives several miles per day to installation and repair jobs.

He said yesterday that bigger fuel bills are cutting into his net gains.

andquot;That comes right out of my pocket. I can't pass those kinds of cost increases onto my customers. I hope the (gas companies) have a good reason for doing this,andquot; Ormonde said.

When asked why they thought gas prices were climbing, people at the pumps said all they hear are poor excuses.

andquot;I heard there was a sabotage of a major oil line, but that shouldn't affect prices this fast. We're supposed to have enough reserves to handle something like that until it gets back online. It's real easy for suppliers to gouge consumers,andquot; said a man traveling through Del Norte County yesterday. He is a member of the National Guard, scheduled for deployment to Iraq in two days, and did not want to give his name.

Others said the price hikes throughout the last two years are based on nothing but media hype.

andquot;I really think it's the newspapers. Oil companies tell the newspeople we're on a shortage, and the news prepares the people for the raise in prices. I know it's not really based on anything substantial,andquot; said Norm Nicholas, while gassing up for a trip to the Grants Pass area.

andquot;If only we could all avoid buying gas for four days. It would drop prices by a dollar,andquot; Nicholas added.