Fuel Prices Force Texomans To Make Cuts

Fuel prices are causing pain at and away from the pump. Many people are cutting-back on driving, and other expenses to deal with surge in costs.

Right now the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.77, and financial experts expect it to climb even higher. Some are predicting gasoline to hit the $5.00/gal mark.

Well ahead of the curve in dealing with the spike are several people Newschannel 6 spoke to in Texoma. "We've cut back on groceries, we've cut back on traveling, pretty much everything," said Sara Cassaday.

Cassaday lives about 20 miles outside Wichita Falls, and even trips to the store are a hassle. She and her husband are being smart about the matter. "We make sure to carpool with each other when we can, to not have 2 vehicles in town at the same time," explained Cassaday.

The rise in prices is cutting into her family's fun. "They're really putting a cramp on our lifestyle. We love to travel, we love to visit friends and family and go on vacations. We're not real sure what were going to be able to do with the way the gas prices are," she said.

Retha Carrasco feels her pain."You know you get up one morning and it jumps pump sky high again," said Carrasco. She does not have to deal with driving into town, but just getting around is costly. "You know you just can't get around town like you did," she said.

It's not just people in Texoma that are cutting back. According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending at 140,000 service stations, gas sales have fallen for five weeks in a row.

Before that, demand had increased for two months. And some analysts had expected the trend to continue, what with the 216,000 jobs that were added in March.

Instead, according to a March survey by the Oil Price Information Service, about 70 percent of the nation's major gas-station chains say sales have fallen.

This year, gas prices have shot up as unrest in North Africa and the Middle East rattled energy markets.

With the 5-buck projections fresh in their minds, some are thinking ahead to what they will do should the worst-case-scenario happen. Cassaday plans to trade-down to a more efficient vehicle. "I'm going to be buying a bicycle," she said and then laughed.

If you want to track the lowest fuel prices in your neighborhood, we have the Cheap Fills tool for you on the home page of this web site.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6 

Content from the Associated Press contributed to this report.