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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Unhappy public not sure who to blame for high gas

LOS ANGELES (AP) â¿¿ Families canceling vacations. Fishermen watching their profits burn up along with their boats' gasoline. Drivers buying only a few gallons of gas at a time because they can't afford to fill the tank.

From all corners of the country, Americans are irritated these days by record-high fuel prices that have soared above $4 a gallon in some states and could top $5 by summer. And the cost is becoming a political issue just as the presidential campaign kicks into high gear.

Some blame President Barack Obama. Some just cite "the government," while others believe it's the work of big, greedy oil companies. No matter who is responsible, almost everyone seems to want the government to do something, even if people aren't sure what, exactly, it should or can do.

A Gallup poll this month found 85 percent of U.S. adults believe the president and Congress "should take immediate actions to try to control the rising price of gas." An Associated Press-GfK poll last month showed 71 percent believe gas prices are a "very" or "extremely" important matter.

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Banks lend again, but their customers are wary

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Since the credit crisis of 2008, everyone has been waiting for the banks to start lending money again. It's finally happening, but there's a catch: Businesses are afraid to spend it.

Bank loans to businesses grew 10 percent last year after dropping 19 percent in 2009 and 9 percent in 2010, according to the Federal Reserve. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo confirmed the growth in their latest financial results.

But much of the loan growth comes from lines of credit, not traditional loans. And instead of tapping available credit to power up plants, open factories and hire people, businesses are waiting.

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