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High gas prices continue to plague drivers

As summer approaches, vacation plans put on hold
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Kim Cree drives more than 600 miles and spends upwards of $160 on gas every week. “It’s killing me,” said Cree, who lives in Auburn and is a salesperson covering a territory that spans all of South Placer County and parts of Yuba and El Dorado counties. She said while she would like to think about taking a vacation this summer, she is more worried about being able to afford to fill her gas tank with quality gas so that she can work. “A lot of people have stopped caring about what kind of gas they are putting in their car,” Cree said. “They are more worried about how much they are paying.” Tom Beaber, of Roseville, said his diesel engine gets 38 miles per gallon on the freeway, but it takes about $100 to fill it up, which he does about twice each week because of his job. “Diesel used to be cheaper than the other gasses and now it’s more expensive,” Beaber said. “I think the state of California and the government is greedy, they just take advantage of the middle class people.” While average prices in the region spiked at about $4.20 per gallon earlier this month and have been on a slow decline since then, the price for a gallon of gas is still up by more than a dollar from a year ago, according to GasBuddy.com. AAA Northern California reports the Golden State is tied with Connecticut and Illinois for the third-highest average price for regular unleaded gasoline in the nation. Northern California gas prices are averaging $4.25, up 8 cents from last month, and the statewide average is $1.10 higher than it was at this time last year, according to a report released by AAA earlier this month. “Motorists need to keep in mind that we are just a couple of weeks away from the Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja, in a statement. “This holiday is typically considered the start of the summer driving season, when prices are traditionally higher.” Dina Bowden, of Antelope, said gas prices have forced her to reconsider taking the usual family vacation this year. “Our vacations typically take us up to Idaho and Montana to visit family, and we usually drive that,” Bowden said. “It’s causing me to second-guess what we can do and wonder if there’s something we can do locally.” While many people appear committed to taking vacations this summer, they are conscious of gas prices as 39 percent said the rising cost of fuel is affecting their summer travel plans, according to a report released this week by travel website TripAdvisor.com. In the annual summer travel survey of more than 2,000 U.S. respondents, Trip Advisor reports 18 percent of respondents expect to take fewer trips by car, 12 percent intend to take shorter driving trips and 5 percent are not planning to travel at all this summer, as a result of fuel prices. Meanwhile, some local consumers remain skeptical about reports that gas prices are going to be dropping in the near future. “That’s what they say, but I’ll believe it when I see it,” Bowden said. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com.