CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) agrees a gas price spike doesn’t help President Barack Obama, but he says so far, it’s hardly a deal-breaker for the president.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, gas prices on Tuesday hit an average of $3.57 nationwide – a 40 cent hike from a year ago.

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Durbin said voters are certainly watching.

“Gas prices are a major impact on our economy, on retail sales, and on the attitude of people and the confidence that they have toward the future of the economy,” Durbin said. “So there’s no question that there’s a linkage.”

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But Durbin also sees the gas price situation as little fuel for a serious political challenge at this point.

“When I listened to some of the Republican presidential candidates, one said, in the bidding war, ‘I’ll bring the price of gas down to $2.50 a gallon,’ and then Newt Gingrich said, ‘No, make that $2,’” Durbin said. “I think Americans dismiss that as political hyperbole.”

Durbin said while the U.S. is making some headway at reducing fuel use, the country is still vulnerable to gas price hikes from international forces affecting the markets.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports