As roughly 200,000 gallons of oil spew daily from a broken valve 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, the ripple effects from the leak could eventually hit the wallets of people across the country.
An estimated 2.6 million gallons of oil have escaped into the water, and the oil slick is already affecting fisherman who are worried about how they will survive.
More than 6,800 square miles of federal fishing areas, from the Mississippi River to the Florida Panhandle, have been closed for at least 10 days, and tonight marks the end of a special shrimping season.
But far from the Gulf of Mexico, people who eat fruit, shrimp, drink coffee or even want to buy tires could end up paying more for such items because of the oil spill.
Cargo ships that transport fruit, steel, rubber, grain and other items could endure delays as they get their oil-coated hulls washed to avoid contaminating the Mississippi River, which could drive up costs, the Associated Press reported.
"Let's say it gets real bad," river pilot Michael Lorino told the AP. "It gets blocked off and they don't let anything in. They lose time, and they are very concerned about that. It's going to be very costly if they have to unload that cargo in another port and ship it back here because it was destined for here."
BP said it will pay for the recovery caused by the April 20 blast on an oil rig that killed 11 people.
"We're responsible for this cleanup and any impact that occurs," BP incident commander Keith Seilhan said.
President Obama and others have questioned what exactly that will entail.
The Mobile Press Register reported that the federal government did not have any fire booms in the Gulf region, despite a 1994 response plan that called for them. Instead, booms had to be ordered from Illinois.
BP is working on three possible solutions to stop the oil that is flowing from the bottom of the sea. First, the company is trying to repair the valve that was supposed to prevent the well from leaking. BP CEO Tony Hayward on "GMA" Monday compared that operation to "conducting open heart surgery about 5,000 feet beneath the seabed."
BP Working on Three Solutions to Stop Leak
The company is also trying to drill a relief well parallel to the leaking one, but that could take three months.
The fastest fix would be to place rectangular steel boxes, which weigh 74 tons, over the leaking pipe and then funnel the oil up to a ship where it can be separated from the water.
The boxes are expected to be on location over the weekend, but federal officials aren't waiting around.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told "Good Morning America" Monday that BP has seen some success in using underwater dispersants and would conduct a review of the method.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, "We didn't see detailed plans, so we said, 'Fine, in the absence of detailed plans in response to this spill, let's have our own plans in place,' and that's what you're seeing."
In Mississippi, thousands of feet of containment booms line the coast, some of which have been rendered useless because of rough waves.
The National Guard on Dauphin Island, Ala., is fighting a war against the oil. The guard installed a series of porous boxes along the shore. Crews will dump chemicals that solidify the oil when it washes up against the barrier and catches it so it can then be lifted from the boxes.
"There's nothing else we can do to stop this enemy than do what we are doing," Capt. Marcus Young said.
In Gulf Shores, Ala., officials have used a simpler approach by building a four-foot wall of sand to stop the water from washing over into the Bay.
White House Pressures BP
BP executives promised to clean up the oil spill polluting the Gulf of Mexico but tried to shift responsibility for the accident to another company Monday.
The Obama administration has "our boot on the throat of BP to ensure that they're doing all that is necessary while we do all that is humanly possible to deal with this incident," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday.
Gibbs was echoing statements Obama made Monday on a visit to the gulf region.
"Let me be clear, BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying for the bill," Obama said.
White House Pressures BP
Gibbs was clear about the president's expectations Monday.
"I think the president will be pleased when there's no more oil leaking on the floor of the ocean," he said.
Earlier in the day, BP's Hayward reiterated his company's dedication to clean up the spill, but said that the explosion was the fault of the owners of the deep-sea rig.
"The drilling rig was Transocean's drilling rig, it was their equipment that failed, it's their systems, their processors that were running it," Hayward said.
"We are responsible not for the accident, but we are responsible for the oil and for dealing with it and cleaning the situation up," Hayward said on "Good Morning America" Monday.
For its part, Transocean declined to take or assign blame for the accident at its Deepwater Horizon rig.
"We will await all the facts before drawing conclusions and we will not speculate," Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said in a statement read to The Associated Press.
BP was criticized Monday for asking fishermen it hired to help with the cleanup to sign waivers that would limit the company's liability.
"I'm looking into that right now," Napolitano said Monday. "I was just alerted to that and if that in fact is the case, that is a practice we want stopped immediately."
Shortly after, Hayward said the company had already put a stop to the practice.
"That was an early misstep," Hayward said. "We were using a standard contract. We've eliminated that."
Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife in Four Gulf States
Lighter winds did give response crews some reason for hope, though. The strong winds that whipped up seas over the weekend have dissipated for now, meaning that oil containment tools such as booms could be more effective. The lighter wind could keep the bulk of the oil slick from hitting shore for another couple days.
The spill threatens four gulf states and hundreds of miles of sensitive coast line.
So far, crews have found relatively few animals affected by the spill. An oil-soaked bird was discovered in Louisiana last week.
There have been 25 dead sea turtles found on the shores of Mississippi in the past three days, although their deaths may not have been related to the spill. Necropsies conducted on some of the turtle bodies suggested that oil did not cause the deaths, although veterinarians haven't ruled out the possibility.
BP's Safety Record Questioned
BP's safety record has been called into question, including a 2005 explosion at a Texas City refinery. The Wall Street Journal quoted Jordan Barab, a deputy assistant secretary of labor at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who said, "there is a systemic safety problem across the company."
Hayward said the company has improved its safety record.
"I think we have made enormous strides as a company in the last three-four years with a remorseless focus on safe and reliable operations," Hayward said.
BP is now concentrating on stopping the leak and cleaning the spill, he said.
"We are clearly focused on minimizing the overall impact," Hayward said Monday. "We are a big company and we intend to deal with this. We take this responsibility incredibly seriously. We absolutely will prevail and we will deal with it."
The Associated Press and ABC News' Jeffrey Koffman, Ryan Owens, Ayana Harry and Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.