Video: Road trip gauges gas prices

By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/16/2006 7:48:34 PM ET 2006-10-16T23:48:34

Saturday, 9:36 a.m.
We leave Peabody, Mass., headed for Salem.

This town depends on tourism. Everybody is affected by the price of gas.

"See, we fly around on brooms -- just kidding," says Christian Day, who dressed up as a witch to hand our flyers at a local festival. "I do actually drive, and it is nice that the gasoline is lower."

The Pulaski family is also thankful for lower prices, but they're suspicious.

"I think it's pretty convenient given that elections are coming up," says Carolyn Pulaski.

11:46 a.m.
Time to top off. The cheapest gas in Salem is $2.07 a gallon. Cost for four-and-a-half gallons? $9.75.

We head west on Route 2, just beyond the train trestle, toward Erving, Mass.

At Freight House Antiques & Cafe, we meet Harriet Severino and her daughter from Boston, who says she wouldn't have made the trip if gas was still $3 a gallon.

"No, I just wouldn't have driven out here," she says. "It just would've been too expensive."

Video: Road trip reveals pump pain Owner Jeffrey Dubay laid off help when gas was high. Now, business is back, and so are his workers.

"Gas is down about a dollar," says Dubay. "It just gives people more to spend."

Along the way, people have also told me there's a psychological impact to lower gas prices — less anxiety. It just makes it easier to reclaim the road and enjoy an old American pastime — sightseeing.

Sunday, 7:10 a.m., Shaftsbury, Vt.
For the Kampf family from Rhode Island — all eight of them — living on a budget is mandatory. It had cost them $80 to fill up, now it's $50.

"It helps us, you know, be able to do a few extra things, to add a few extra dollars that we're not putting into the tank," says Anne Marie Kampf.

Our tour through New England now heads east, where the so-called "leaf peepers" pump more than $12 billion into the economy every autumn.

Which brings us to where we wound up. We crossed New Hampshire, and now we're in Ogonguit, Maine. Our 452-mile trip cost $43.44 in gas. If we were doing this same trip at $3-a-gallon, it would have cost almost $60.

The fall foliage, of course, was priceless.

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