Soaring gas prices put brakes on vacations

Soaring gas prices put brakes on vacations

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by By KGW.com Staff and The Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on April 22, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 23 at 10:28 AM

PORTLAND -- With gas prices above $4 in some states, Americans are canceling spring break plans and rethinking summer vacation or just staying home.

A gallon of gas costs an average of $3.84 in the United States, almost a full dollar more than a year ago.

In Portland Friday, a gallon was going for $3.83 , according to PortlandGasPrices.

In six states the average is above $4: $4.52 in Hawaii, $4.21 in California, $4.18 in Alaska, $4.11 in Connecticut, $4.08 in Illinois and $4.05 in New York.

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Memorial Day is still five weeks away, and summer doesn't officially start for two months.

This year, anxiety over high gas prices -- and whether the family vacation will bust the family budget -- has come early. The gas jitters have much broader implications than how many people show up to take pictures of Bryce Canyon, Mount Rainier or the Everglades.

Gas prices are closely tied to the health of the overall economy. It's too early to tell how much of a toll gas prices will take on the summer travel season. The jitters have come so early that AAA hasn't even put out its summer travel forecast yet.

But there are already signs that the eye-popping prices at the pump are changing Americans' behavior. In Oklahoma, where gas is a relatively cheap $3.69 per gallon, AAA says it's getting a lot more calls from people who are out of gas on the highway.

National demand for gasoline, which should be rising this time of year, is falling instead. And for many, flying is out of the question -- after all, airlines have to buy fuel, too, and fares are going up fast.

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