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High gas prices curb driver habits
Some putting off vacations, other trips
0517gas
Josh Woodard fill up his car Monday morning at the Petro-Fast on E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville. Local gas prices are about $4 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.

At $4 a gallon, here’s how much it takes to fill up some of April’s most popular selling vehicles in America according to Edmunds.com

Truck: Ford F-150: $104 to fill up, 26 gallons, 17/23 mpg

SUV: Honda CR-V: $61.20 to fill up, 15.3 gal., 21/28 mpg

Mid-sized car: Toyota Camry: $74 to fill up, 18.5 gal., 22 /33 mpg

Compact car: Honda Civic: $52.80 to fill up, 13.2 gal. 26/34 mpg

As summer gets under way, Linda Crowe should be finalizing arrangements for a road trip through Maine that she had planned. But as gas prices top $4 a gallon, she, like many travelers, instead finds herself crunching the numbers.

“It’s too expensive,” she said of the cost at the pumps. “I’ve cut back on other things because of fuel. I may not be able to afford vacation.”

But Jessica Brady, a spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South, said summer travelers may have less to fear than it appears.

With oil trading at less than $100 a barrel for two straight weeks, Brady said gas prices should see a “slow and steady decrease” through June. Though looking too far into the future is a risky game, Brady estimates prices will fall into the range of $3.25 to $3.75 a gallon by the end of summer.

But this won’t be low enough for some travelers.

Josh Woodard, a Gainesville resident native to Valdosta, said prices have kept him from visiting family and friends back home.

“They get you at the pump, no doubt about that,” he said as he pumped $55 into a gas tank he remembers filling for $16. “I fill up my car and I won’t be able to eat when I get down (to Valdosta).”

Woodard said he now waits for family to come up and visit him.

“I let them pay for the gas,” he added jokingly.

But the prices don’t just affect those planning major trips. Job hunters, daily commuters and many businesses also have felt the sting.

“It makes it hard for people that are operating a business,” said Jessica Butzer, director of catering at Brenau University, as she pumped $80 of gas into a catering van. “The money they’re taking in they’re putting back out.”

Whitney Roberts, who spends close to $400 a month on her daily commute from Cleveland to Gainesville, said she only sees one way to avoid it — don’t drive.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” she said. “I try to just go to work and home.”

Others have cut costs by trading in their vehicles for more cost-efficient modes of transportation.

Paula Navarrete said each of her three children own bikes and often take 40-mile rides.

“I think we’ll see an increase in that,” she said. “Gas just affects everything else. ... I laugh it off, but it really hurts.”

Though Brady said seasonal increases in fuel prices can be expected in the summer, this year has been anything but typical.

“It all started with issues in Egypt then trickled down,” she said. “Oil prices have stayed high ever since.”

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