(WKBN) – With gas prices rising closer and closer to $5 a gallon, people say they’re having to make choices in where their money gets spent.

“You can’t afford to drive around, you literally gotta go do what you gotta do and go home, can’t leisure anything,” said John Slanina of Youngstown.

“Between the food and the gas going up, yeah, you have to pick and choose which one you’re gonna do,” said Monika Rae of New Castle.

But on Monday, President Joe Biden told reporters the rising prices are part of what he calls “an incredible transformation” toward relying less on oil and gas and using more renewable energy sources.

“It’s incompetence, there’s no common sense. It’s pretty sad that he penalizes the American people with this so-called transition,” said Paul Lyden, vice president of the Lyden Oil Company.

Lyden worries the rising prices will impact the overall economy as a whole.

“He’s absolutely destroying the quality of life for Americans. He’s absolutely destroying our economy,” Lyden said.

But not everyone is convinced the high prices we’re paying now are here to stay. Mike Kassem operates a pair of Morgan Oil stations in the area and thinks this is just a temporary situation.

“I think that gas prices will always go down because they don’t wanna price themselves out of the market and they don’t want to find… they don’t want people to go to alternatives,” Kassem said.

Kassem predicts it could be another year before prices level off and start falling back again.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman says he’s troubled by what President Biden said.

On Tuesday, Portman told reporters the nation needs to utilize the resources it has right now while working toward a future goal of reducing the need for fossil fuels.

“We’ve got, you know, plenty of oil and gas in the ground here in America, and you know, we’ve got more strict environmental standards to get it out. We need to use it and make that transition but make that transition slowly when there is something in place to substitute for it — we’re not there yet,” he said.

Portman says the nation’s energy grid can’t handle the widespread use of electric cars and trucks, and improving that will take time.