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CJ: Pinched at the pump 

Readers share  how high gas prices have changed their lives.
Gas prices as high as $3 a gallon are becoming more common around the U.S.Denis Poroy / AP file

Your assignment: With gas prices at an all-time high, MSNBC is asking its readers to discuss ways in which they've changed their lives because of fuel costs.

Montauk blues
Although it's interesting hearing about places complaining about their high gas prices, as they hit $2.75 /gal., we, here in Montauk, on Long Island's east end, have been paying 40 - 50 cents a gallon over the national average! As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the cheapest regular gas we can get here is at an Empire station here at $2.98/gal.  Exxon and Mobil stations here are, and have been over $3.00 gal for the last month!   As of Tuesday night, the cost of home heating oil here was $2.59/ gal. I don't know what the senior citizen is going to do this winter, as well as surcharges for fuel costs on our electric bills.  I cut my usage of electricity by 1/3 during my last billing period this year over what I used last year, and my electric bill had a $48 fuel surcharge on what I used, and my bill was MORE than last year's. When will it end? Our salaries don't go up that much!
--Steve Margraf, Montauk, N.Y.

On two wheels
Fuel costs have me using my motorcycle as my primary source of transportation these days. The price at the pump inspires me to use my bicycle more often as well. Come on America, dust off those bicycles in the garage and hit the streets, it's good exercise too!
--Jason, New Franklin, Ohio

Disposable income burned up
I think that families with two incomes are not feeling the gas price pinch as those on a single income.  I am a stay at home mom and I have been keeping track of how much we spend a month in gas and it is anywhere from $430 to $465 dollars a month.  My husband drives 45 miles one way to work, and has a six cylinder pick-up.  I drive a mini-van for groceries and taking kids places.  The gas prices around me are up to $2.78 per gallon. This causes me a lot of anxiety and I think the only place to make up the difference is in our grocery spending which is already less than the gas we spend each month.  The disposable income is now in the gas tank!
--Tammy Higgins, Howell, Mich.

Transit equals freedom
I'm making my daughter learn to ride a bike without training wheels so we can make our trips to the library, park, or co-op grocery store without using the car. Fortunately, I live near work and in an urban neighborhood where I can walk or bike most places I need to go. I am struck by how many comments have come from people lamenting the lack of alternatives to the automobile, whether because of sprawl or the lack of public transportation or bike lanes. In spite of the defeatism of our elected officials, who seem to think there is nothing to do but keep supporting the all-car lifestyle, I believe that if we all work together we could create many more options. We spent two weeks in Montreal this summer in a rented flat in an outer neighborhood of the city, and we could get ANYWHERE we wanted to go using a cheap transit pass. I mean anywhere, since the combination of buses and subway lines is incredible, and they run very frequently and reliably. Canadian teenagers, elderly and disabled folks, and those who cannot afford to own a car have a freedom of movement their American counterparts can only dream about. Here in America we have chosen to throw the government's support behind the car culture -- building roads and parking lots and investing heavily in oil production and importation, but we could shift it to other priorities and make a huge difference.
--Rachel M., Syracuse, N.Y.

Shipping when possible
Whenever I've needed to purchase goods other than food, I've weighed the shipping costs versus cost of gas, wear and tear, and mileage on my vehicles. More often than not, I've recently opted to have items shipped UPS, rather than run down to Best Buy or Home Depot, if at all possible. Also, since gas (diesel) costs are infused into the retail price of all goods and services, eating out has been curtailed to offset the increased cost of food in the budget. Living in the Northeast with home heating oil expected to approach $3.00 a gallon this winter will mean curtailed Christmas expenditures as well. As Chevy Chase said in "Christmas Vacation, Hallelujah, pass the Tylenol!"
--Don, Concord, N.H.

Thinking about moving
I used to drive a Nissan Pathfinder, 11-15 mpg, but traded it on a a Toyota RAV4, 22-28 mpg. I also used to make a 30 miles roundtrip drive to work and I bought a house less than a mile from my workplace. I also purchased a motorcycle that gets 50-60 mpg. I ride bicycles to work most of the time when weather permitting. Gas costs will drive up all costs, heat, electricity, public water, food, clothes and pretty much everything else. I am seriously looking into solar energy. The days of driving whatever anyone wants is over. My next car will be a Honda Insight. Or I am seriously thinking of moving to a warm climate and just using a motorcycle to get around.
--M. Leonard, Presque Isle, Maine

Learning online
I hadn’t noticed gas prices until the other day (when my tank was beginning to get empty) and I almost wrecked my car (literally) when I looked at a station’s prices. I only have an 8 gallon tank and am a working student, which puts me on the road a lot. I seriously have no cash to buy a hybrid and my parents can’t afford to help me out, either. This is putting a huge dampening on work and school travel so I have opted to take more online courses and limit the places I go. Instead of going to places on a whim I now analyze if I really need that item or do I really need to go here, there, etc. I would love to ride my bike around town but I live in an urban sprawl area and it is not overly bike-friendly.  I can’t believe people are just sitting back and taking this. I wish energy efficient vehicles were more available (hybrid, biodeisel, hydrogen, etc.). Something has to be done about gas prices. This is absolutely ridiculous.
--Lori C., Virginia Beach, Va.

A feel for the future
I think folks are getting a feel now for the future of things to come. Perhaps they will heed the warning and start to buckle down on wasting so much fuel and energy. I bought a used Hybrid three years ago before fuel started going out of sight. I average 43 miles per gallon. I also bought a higher seer rating central heating and cooling unit with a programmable thermostat and insulated my home better. Put attic exhaust fans in with thermostats and IR paint in most of the rooms of my house. All this saved me over $265 per. month and is a lot better on the environment. Conservation is a win-win thing. If public transportation were available in my area I would use it.

It is a shame that it has taken skyrocketing fuel prices to induce people to conserve. The next step will be for the government to get on the bandwagon for nuclear energy. We are the last major country on the globe to use nuclear energy as our primary source of electric production and we can thank the politicians for that. These are things we all need to think about when we go to the polls in the next 2 years to vote.
--Rich Kaminski, Mckinney Texas

Using the internet more
Boy, did the high price of gas hurt. When it went up over two dollars I thought some people around here were going to have simultaneous heart attacks. I walk to get small items from the local convenience store, forgo eating out, get my errands all done at the same time, and, frankly, use the internet more, as communications and looking for things I know I might need. Good thing my car is good on gas, it’s paid for, and with care and such, will be a good one for some time. Other than that, with the rising cost of other things, well, what else can we all do but bite the bullet, pinch our pennies, and start working on alternative fuel sources?
--Mari Sipeer, Duenweg Mo.

Hybrid happy
I bought my 2004 Honda Insight Hybrid a year ago and I love it. I get about 44 mpg rather than the promoted 60 and I wondered why?  Just now on the TODAY show I may have learned the reason: Rather than always using the a/c, I like to drive with the windows open and get the fresh air.  But, hey! 44 is a lot better than what I used to get before I had the hybrid!  Yes, there's no back seat, but I live alone and don't need it.  And when there is a group of us going somewhere, it gets me out of having to be the one to drive!
--John Miller, Texas

The motor home is for sale. The 10 and 12 year old truck and Chevy Suburban are paid for and a new car payment would be higher than any gas bill so keep them in good condition and not buy new. Combine errands and raised my own prices for pick-up and delivery of articles for my business. Hate grocery shopping anyway so just do that even less. No vacation planned this year as we usually use RV. Live out in what use to be country until everyone started moving out but it is still better than more crowded in town living so we will keep the 10.5 acres of woods and try to shut out the loud and road rage world. We are old and have pinched pennies all our lives. We will just pinch a little more.
--Carol Mathews, Rock Spring, Ga.

Saving every way possible
These high gas prices have all but ruined my chance to go back to college, I'm a single mom who receives no child support so all the money I make goes toward bills and 3 teenagers, they have jobs and help, but it's still tough. You can get a shopping card at Wal-Mart that knocks of 3 cents, so gas is now $2.05 (after the 3 cents off). I drive a Jeep Cherokee and it drinks gas like a wino drinks wine! lol. I agree with the person who wrote about people increasing the population, while I understand that many people already have 2-4 children, I have 3 as I stated before, but that was long before this crises developed. The people in this country need to step back and look at the big picture, large families are a thing of the past, and once our resources have been depleted, there's no turning back. We all need to take stock in what's happening to our beloved country, take care of it!
--Lana Fincher, Leitchfield, Ky.

Long commute makes for careful planning
Last summer I bought my elderly mother's house out in the country and moved in to take care of her - seemed like a good idea financially until, shortly thereafter, gas prices skyrocketed. It's a 76 mile round-trip to work each day and even though my little econo-box cranks out 34 mpg (or more since I now drive less aggressively) my commuting expenses are strangling me. I carefully plan any shopping and errands for after work while I'm still in town and my car is often not used at all on the weekends. I used to buy fuel at whatever station was most convenient but now plan my fill-ups for evenings when I have a class because there's a Costco on the way. There is no public transportation available, my schedule pretty well prohibits carpooling and it's much too far to ride a bicycle. Also, my job is paying my employer's line-haul freight bills so I know that the truckers are being slammed. The public can expect to see higher and higher prices on food, clothing, just about everything.
--Joyce P., Rogue River, Ore.

Looking to the future
As a computer consultant, I work from home over the net. Most of my fuel expense is for pleasure or errands. I drive a super luxurious Chrysler Town and Country Van (long wheelbase) and it gets a respectable 16-17 mpg in the city and a great 24-26 mpg on the highway. The van provides me with great amenities and comfort -- although I realize it is not a "green" vehicle. However, I only drive about 1,500 miles per year now and fuel cost is not a factor.

However, I do believe that my next vehicle will be a 40-plus mpg vehicle or I will not acquire it. The planet is running out of resources and people cannot (or will not) slow their breeding habits. Eventually, oil will cease to exist. I could take the low road and say "Hell, I am so old it doesn't matter -- let the next generation cope with an oil-less world". But that is not my nature. I believe that our government MUST provide incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles and include trucks in the present CAFE laws. I know that science can easily develop a fuel source from hydrogen (or whatever)which is unlimited and available at low cost, but there is no financial incentive to do so.

As an avowed conservative Republican, I am disappointed in the party in that they are the promulgators of SUVs -- the greatest sap of the world's energy resources ever marketed. I do not care what the "young" people want. There comes a time when the planet and the economy of the world's communities must take precedence. If that requires laws to forbid gas-guzzling vehicles –- so be it.

All in all, I lived through a time when all thought the "gas would never run out". We all know that is no longer true and it is time to take steps to enforce conservation and switches to alternative energies.
--Tom Dombrosky, Tampa, Fla.

Feeling it in Alaska
Due to higher fuel prices of about $1.00 per gallon higher over the past six months, I eat out less often, that includes the local coffee shops or driving three to five miles to take my dog out for her daily hike.  I plan my driving carefully, what roads to take that I don't have to stop as often, get the mail and groceries, other stores in one trip. Living in Alaska, we also heat out homes with fuel oil presently at $2.41 per gallon.  I keep the heat down low when I'm not at home, I turn off the heat if the outside temperature is at least 50 degrees. In speaking with my friends, they are doing about the same. I noticed that the elderly lady that lives across the street has been using her wood stove more often to heat her home.  I feel for those that cannot absorb the cost of higher fuel prices as I can. I live on an island in the Gulf of Alaska, other smaller villages have much higher cost that we here on Kodiak Island and they do not have the ability to absorb the cost. It's time for America to quit thinking about an energy change, it's time to respond and take action on alternative transportation, heating and electrical power sources.
--Hal Long, Kodiak, Alaska

It's closing schools
Currently where I live in Seattle there is a proposal to change the entire workings of our 20 year old school-choice system to keep children in their neighborhood schools and take away their choices for schooling.  When the parents started asking questions it keeps going back to the extraordinary cost of busing the students to school each day due to the rise in gas prices.  It is sickening to me to think that my daughter may have to go to our neighborhood school which does not provide the Art, Drama, Social skills, and music classes that her current school has due to gas issues. One of the options that the city is seriously considering is to let all middle through high school students take public transportation to school at the same time all the adults are trying to get to work. Anyone see any problems with that idea?
--Cate, Seattle Wash.

Keeping it in perspective
Not a bit! It is still cheaper, adjusted for inflation, than it was fifty years ago when its price did matter to me. I look at most prices today as incredibly cheap considering what we get for what we pay. The quality, the quantities, the choices, the utility, it is only from ignorance that people complain today.
--Major Michael B. Combs, USAF Retired, Gualala, Calif.

Hard on truckers
Every article I read only talks of the effects on everyone lives with gasoline.  What about the trucking industry, who by the way, handles 92 percent of the nations goods and the price of diesel fuel being 32 cents higher, per gallon, than regular unleaded.  What do you think it has done to our companies, the family owned and operated trucking companies bringing you your Pepsi products and Miller beer?  We fuel 2-3 times per week, with an average of 184 gallons each for each tractor, each fill up and they get around 6.4 miles per gallon.  If you want a reality story, talk writing about the effects the diesel fuel will eventually have on the economy when everything transported by truck will cost you a lot more than what you are presently paying.  Your electric bill and price of tires and plastic will go up for production and your staple items will be more costly.  Diesel fuel is less costly type of fuel, because it takes less to refine, which gasoline takes more to refine.  Diesel fuel has historically been 22-30 cents cheaper than your regular gasoline and now we are taking hits of 32-39 cents more a gallon than gasoline.  Where is the justice in having the trucking companies handle all the cost of this? We have written our Congressmen and Senators and Reps. They talk about it, but no action.
--Susan Williams, West Chester, Ohio

Slow down and keep your car in top shape
I'm a single mom with two teenage boys living with me and if their eating habits don't send you to the poor farm, the gas prices will! I'm somewhat like your reader "Easing off the accelerator". I own a 2003 Ford F150 Pickup w/4.6 V8. Gas was killing me until I realized going 70 miles an hour everywhere we went was eating up the gas. So I've starting easing off the gas to 65, then 60. Although, other cars fly past me, slowing down not only lessens the chance of speeding tickets it helps with avoiding accidents and in turn road rage.  Also, not sure if this really helps but I open my tailgate to lessen the wind resistance and only use the a/c when it gets really hot (in Texas that's about 9 months out of the year). In the meantime, I try to keep my car clean and make sure the right tire pressure is in all four tires (having a son who's a mechanic helps too)!  I'm definitely considering a Hybrid car my next investment if and when the prices come down.  So stop speeding, EASE UP and you'll notice a difference too!
--J. Owen. Ft. Worth, Texas

Cheaper 4x4s
The only way it changed my life is that it lowered the price on 4x4's. My 8-year-old sports car was due to retire and my wife's 4x4 had 40,000 miles on it since we bought it 1.5 years ago. So off to the dealership we went and home we came, with two brand new gas guzzlers. Did I mention that I drive 74 miles each way to work.  That's 150 a day. Can you think of a more comfortable way to spend those hours than in a big, comfortable vehicle? Me neither.
--Rob Campbell, Marietta, Ga.

It's worth it
Fuel costs are more than offset by:
A) Lower tax rates
B) Lower crime rates
C) Lower house prices
D) Better schools
E) Larger yards
F) Greater freedom all provided by suburban living. 
I have an SUV that gets approximately 12 miles-per-gallon. The impact of gas prices is not going out to eat as much.  Keep in mind, the prime driver of gas prices is TAXES, not the fuel cost.  Lower my taxes and $3 gas will seem inexpensive.  Gas is still cheaper than milk.
--Michael Fuller, Frederick, Md.

Lesson at a young age
I had no idea that gas prices would put this much financial strain on me! I am only 21 and I just bought my first good car -- a SUV of course. I love it, but between the gas it consumes and my insurance and car payment I am broke midway through the pay period. I usually end up borrowing money for gas from my boyfriend. He and I used to eat out all of the time, now we can't because we both have cars that are not great on gas. We used to take trips out of town (since we live in a small town where there's not a lot to do), and we can no longer do that either. I never dreamed gas prices would change all of these things in my life.
--Brandi, Mount Vernon, Ill.

Losing the 4x4 not a quick solution
Gas prices haven't affected me much. I don't drive too far for the most part. Most of my cars have been big old American gas guzzlers, which is fine with me. I figure by the time one pays full coverage insurance for a new econo-car per month I could easily pay for all my gas. Not to mention the car payments, plus you still have to pay for gas anyway. It would take a very long time for the gas savings pay off the difference between a $1000 4x4 Dodge Ramcharger V-8 powered behemoth and a brand new $12,000 Saturn.
--Jesse Rauk, Niellsville Wis.

Attacking things on foot
Well, gas prices have certainly changed my life and oddly I can say it sometimes is for the better. I used to drive a mile or two to get groceries or lottery tickets, but with gas so expensive I just take a backpack and walk.  I even walk to work now because my job is only about fifteen minutes away on foot and I save my car from the wear and tear of stop and go driving in the city. It's also less pollution on the environment and I get good exercise doing it. I don't think I would have done so if gas wasn't so expensive, I imagine I would have continued the use of my car for destinations I could have easily arrived at on foot. I do wish gas was not so pricey, as do we all, but it has made me realize that I can still accomplish all of my daily activities with out the need to use an automobile.
--Steven Martin, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Scooting around
Well, yes the gas prices affected me!  Last year on trip to Europe with my daughter, I noticed how many people left the car in the driveway and went to work on scooters.  I realized I work three miles away from home and downtown shopping is another mile or two the other way.  So I followed the Italian example and bought a scooter.  It gets great mileage, I can ride it almost year-round in this climate and best of all, get to work with a smile!!  It's the best thing I have bought in a long time.  Now the main problem I have is making sure someone else in the family isn't out running scooter errands when I need my ride!
--P. Odom, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Tightening his belt
I am a working college student attending UC Riverside. I drive a hand-me-down minivan that gets atrocious gas mileage, about 18 mpg. if the stars are aligned. Unfortunately, I have to make a 20 mile round trip to work each day for minimum wage and the minivan costs over $40 to fill up about every week and a half. Now, I try to carpool, ride my bike when I can, or offer use of the minivan's practicality for gas money. I'm also tightening my belt when it comes to groceries and trips to the store. Literally.
--Wayne Tsai, Riverside, Calif.

Feeling smug
High gasoline prices have made me feel a bit smug, I guess. We live in a small city of about 50,000, and several years ago we bought an older home, near downtown.  We were tempted to buy or build an acreage outside of town, which seemed to be the popular thing to do, and perhaps to buy a truck or SUV to fit that lifestyle.  Instead, we can walk to the grocery store, restaurants, church and my daughter's pre-school.  I bicycle about five miles roundtrip commuting to the college where I teach, and my wife drives three miles roundtrip commuting to her workplace.  We own two vehicles, and if we needed to we could afford to gas them up frequently, but I am glad we don't have to. 
--Ken Usher, Klamath Falls, Ore.

Guzzler sits
My '02 Ram 1500 gas guzzler got parked and put on restricted mileage insurance so it can only be used when necessary.  The gas savings will cover 75 percent of the cost of an '02 low-mileage Honda Civic that is now the commuter vehicle.
--Charles Wilson, Three Mile Bay, N.Y.

Stretching out the legs
I actually purchased a bicycle. I have not rode one for 25 years. I cannot tell you how enjoyable [and healthy] it is to ride again. I also do not have to give my hard earned money to the pump.
--Tom, Cleveland, Ohio

Slowing down and relaxing
I own a SUV, that's the only vehicle I have for transportation. I live 22 miles from work with the freeway right next door. I don't take the freeway anymore, I use the little old highway which is 55mph all the way into town. I don't mind it at all. I get to see the nice views of mountains and fields, occasionally a deer or two. I have stopped spending $80.00 a week on gas and have saved half that by taking the "scenic route" Its worth it, I relax before and after work!
--Linda Guillen, Las Cruces, N.M.

High on hybrids
Anticipating gas prices going up, we purchased a Toyota Prius a year ago.  Fifty to 55 miles per gallon means we don't have to forego trips by car.  Also, I got a bike for my birthday and started riding my bike to work round trip eight miles.  I really enjoy my ride. It's stimulating in the morning, relaxing in the afternoon and healthy all the time.  Our other car is also a 4-cylinder Toyota and good on the gas mileage.  We recommend that everyone consider a hybrid car; we love it.
--Harvey Lee, Carson City, Nev.

Smells like bio-diesel
Even before this latest price jump, we had made changes at home. I am now the proud owner of a 1983 Mercedes Benz 240D, and my car runs on homemade bio-diesel -- fuel that my husband and a friend make from waste vegetable oil from restaurants in town. So I tell my friends "that's Yardarm you smell" (a great local, music and sand dollars - yum). It costs about 80 cents per gallon to make. I also took a job in town, so my commute is 2 1/2 miles each way. As I am banned from bike-riding, I still drive.
We have a second Benz that has an auxiliary tank installed, holding waste vegetable oil. Start the car with (bio) diesel, when it warms to 80 degrees centigrade, switch to the auxiliary tank. Cost - $850 plus installation for the tank, the subsequent cost is collecting the oil, heating and straining.  I am concerned what these fuel costs will do to price of groceries and necessities as the price stays up. We will be shopping frugally!
--Helle Koustrup Berry, Racine, Wis.

Heading downtown
With a job within the downtown area of a major city I found myself not only spending a lot of time in the car on the way to work and home but stuck in traffic along the way.  Since this spring I decided that one major lifestyle change could solve many of my problems.  I moved from my home in the suburbs into a place that is within a mile or two from my job.  So far it has been great.  I started walking to work, and I found my stress levels (not dealing with traffic in the morning) were way down.  I only need my car to run to the store or go on a day-long trip somewhere.  I have found that my full tank can last over a month if I keep my car local.  Now that the weather is turning warmer I went a bought a bicycle cutting my commute time to under 10 minutes.  It makes me smile to pass by cars stuck in traffic now knowing that the next trip to the pump is a lot further than I ever could imagine. 
--David Mandelkern, New Haven Conn.

Gas and the sales cycle
My Ford Explorer is getting more garage time than ever before. When it takes $45 to fill my tank and I am a commissioned sales person on a $1500 a month draw, I do not go anywhere I do not have to. The company doesn't pay any car allowances, but they do pay for Fed-Ex, DHL, long distance calls from the office and a courier service.  These guys use gas too, but it doesn't seem to concern the company that their salespeople are spending a lot more time in the office than in front of clients. The expenses for the services they do pay for must be higher than giving the commissioned reps a gas allowance per month. That's penny-wise, pound-foolish.  I feel certain it is affecting sales, but again, no one talks about it. Meanwhile I leave the office less than I should.  But no one pays me anything but commissions I have earned, so I feel like I can earn them from my desk!
--S.L. Greer. Bellaire, Texas

Easing off the accelerator
Slow down!  I was a habitual 70-80 mph driver.  It is very easy to do here in Texas, everyone drives that fast.  I drive a 1988 Honda Accord back and forth to work, approximately 40 miles round trip every day.  I now stay in the right lane, let every one pass me like I am standing still, and I am very mindful of my speed.  I stay between 55 and 60 mph, and you would be amazed at what a difference that makes.  I have cut my consumption nearly in half!  Instead of using a full tank of gas per week, I now use only just slightly more than half. I leave about 10 minutes earlier than I used to, but that is a small price to pay to take a relaxed, leisurely drive to and from work.  I have also found that I am much less stressed by the time I get to work, because you can be more relaxed at lower speeds, and have more time to react to unexpected surprises on the road. Not only is it better for the environment, but just think, if every one slowed down, demand would drop, and so would prices.  The rise in fuel prices hasn't affected me at all.  I spend just as much now on gas, as I did last summer, and still go to all of the same places I did before. SLOW DOWN!  You'll be glad you did.
--Mitch Monson, Dallas, Texas

Tougher to volunteer
I'm retired now and have the time to do volunteer work in our community. I've been taking patients who need a ride to medical appointments, (mostly VFW and American Legion members) but gas prices have just about ruled out the longer trips to the Martinsburg, W. Va. Veterans Hospital and if prices go much higher, I will not be able to continue driving to Walter Reed, an hour away.
--Dennis Polasky, Springfield, Va.

Fewer and fewer town trips
My family and I live about 15 miles outside of town and that is our only source of gas, food, and other such necessities. We bought a different car about three months ago because our van had not gotten very good gas mileage. So about three thousand to four thousand dollars later the gas prices are about twenty cents higher. Our lives are ever dominated by gas prices and low wages. Trips to town about twice a week are a usual occurrence but that is still hitting the pocket pretty heavily. So we have needed to cut down on the extra expenses, such as new clothes, treats and going to movies. We no longer just go to town to have fun. Trips to town for family time at the park are cut drastically. Families can only have so much fun at home until they are feeling a little isolated. We have cut many family trips also, which has dampened our foreign exchange student's experience here. I'm sorry to say but it is very sad that a thing like gas could change our lives so drastically.
--Chris Maskovich, Waverly, S.D.

Careful planning
Since the price of fuel has gone up I find myself planning my trips and errands more carefully. I start with the errand furthest out and then run other errands that are on the way home. I might go to a grocery store that I do not ordinarily go to if I know there is a Kroger on the way back from another place. Also, I am more of a budget shopper since the prices have gone up in the grocery store due to trucking costs, so I am more careful what I spend money on and walk to places close in my neighborhood.  Who knows maybe I'll shed some pounds. 
--Jennifer Van Akin, Houston, Texas

Not just gas prices
What you don't hear on the news is about how the high cost of gas affects us in areas other than at the gas pump. Naturally other costs are going to rise as well due to increased cost of distribution and you can bet distributors and/or businesses are not going to absorb those costs themselves.
--Judith Engle, Ottumwa, Iowa

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