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Your e-mails: Cutting extras, essentials

CNN.com readers on rising pump prices

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Wednesday prices for gas in Chicago, Illinois

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(CNN) -- Gas prices are rising, seemingly unstoppable on their way to an average $3 gallon, and the peak vacation driving season is still ahead. On Wednesday, oil prices jumped above $72 a barrel to set another record after a government report said supplies of crude made a surprise decline and gasoline stocks fell far more than expected.

CNN.com asked for readers' opinions on how rising gas prices affect their daily routines, how much gas costs in their area and how concerned they are about overall trends in energy pricing. Here is a sampling of responses, some of which have been edited:

Gas has risen to $3.09 a gallon here in the Bay area. I and several others at work have parked our cars and switched to motorcycles as our primary mode of transportation. At 45+ MPG, it only makes sense to use a motorcycle versus a car.
George D., Mountain View, California, $3.09/gallon

I paid $2.83/gallon today and that was the cheapest gas I could find in the area. Being in sales/marketing, my living is made by going to numerous clients' offices daily and my company only reimburses .37/mi, so I am being hit hard. I'm no longer driving anywhere but where necessary. I pay special attention to speed and where I work on a particular day and don't drive after hours unless necessary. I'm infuriated at the oil/gas companies that recorded record profits and I no longer spend my money on gas at their stations
Amanda, Phoenix, Arizona, $2.83/gallon

Gas prices have always been an issue for us in California. Each time a national average is quoted, my thought has always been, "Gee, I wish our prices were even close to that price!" We have always been 25 cents higher than that average. I don't have a big car and cannot get out of the gas station under $50 (note: It cost me $55 to fill up today at $3.26!!!). I think $4.00 gas is in the near future and it worries me. I travel all over Los Angeles for work and in stop-and-go traffic (which we always have in L.A.), gas goes quick. I think I will have to start cutting out some of the extras (eating out, movies, etc.). I wish we could get the folks in Washington to realize this is a national crisis.
Yawar Charlie, West Hollywood, California, $3.26/gallon

I personally hope gas prices reach as much as $5 a gallon. This will keep the idiots off the road (at least those between 16 and 25). And it's still a lot less than in most European countries. A substantial price increase is long overdue.
Frederic Paulson, Naperville, Illinois

$2.69 a gallon in Bozeman, Montana. There's a gas card that lets me save $.03 a gallon at certain stations in town and I now get gas only there, as small doses of $.03 per gallon savings really add up. Sad thing is out here I have to drive 25 miles daily to get to and from work. Extra trips are out. My wages have been the same for 2 years (I work at a school) and it costs me almost 3 times as much in gas as it used to in order to work here. With the lack of good paying jobs in this part of the country, it's just frustrating to see gas so high.
Matt, Bozeman, Montana, $2.69/gallon

Gasoline in the USA is cheap. In Norway, my old country, they pay nearly $7 per gallon. America must put its brilliant ingenuity towards attaining a more sustainable energy to use now. We are still cruising in the fast lane.
Bjorn Karomten, La Jolla, California

$2.89. The gas prices have already caused me to cancel all of my summer road trips. I usually make between six and 10 trips involving at least an overnight hotel stay. I eat out less often, combine trips to the store. I see other prices starting to rise as well, such as food costs. My loaf of bread is now about 10 percent higher than a year ago. I purchased a house that I could afford (nothing affordable near work) about 40 miles from work -- even with a car with good gas mileage I am having difficulty. I have already canceled my home phone service and cable is next. I have reduced both my gas and electric usage at home also. I have even gone as far as reducing my 401K contributions. My budget was tight before and I fear that I will not keep up -- even with the changes I have made.
Matt, Weirton, West Virginia, $2.89/gallon

I find myself driving past the gas pump, even though I am barely above empty, warning light on. I suspect that the station can't afford to pay for a whole tank, because every day around noon-time, the pumps are all out already. The prices are cents shy of $3.00 here, whereas last November, it was only $1.97-$1.99 per gallon. I don't know how much longer I can afford the high prices. Thankfully, I have a car with a great MPG rating.
Justin, Hampton, Virginia, $3.00/gallon

It has changed my routine: I do all of my shopping on one day so I don't have to go out for multiple trips. Gas is currently $2.70 a gallon. It has almost tripled in the past 10 years -- my salary certainly hasn't tripled -- so it makes living difficult for the average person. My husband doesn't visit his family that often -- they live 3 hours away -- it costs so much just to visit for one weekend. It really is sad to not spend time with family because our budget simply doesn't allow it.
Tonya, Waynesville, Ohio, $2.70/gallon

I really can't vary my routine that much. I work 27 miles from my office, and public transportation isn't a viable option for me (I've tried it -- two trains and a bus, for a total of an hour and 45 minutes to travel 27 miles). I do try to combine errands when I can, but that probably only reduces my weekly mileage by five or six miles. Fortunately, the cars I use for my commute (two cars used on alternating days) have 4-cylinder engines and get between 27 and 32 MPG, depending on conditions. I'm very concerned about rising prices, largely because I don't see any practical way of reducing my consumption, short of selling my house and moving closer to work -- and the housing stock near work is no more affordable than it was nine years ago -- and if I did that, then I'd be looking at long drives to visit family and friends. My last fill-up was on Saturday night, April 15, for $2.749/gal. That was the lowest price I found within a couple of miles of my house.
Paul Balze, Glen Burnie, Maryland, $2.749/gallon

The price of gas here in Charlotte, North Carolina, ($2.82 per gallon) has affected my daily routine. I drive to work every day because here in Charlotte we do not have a transit system or adequate bus service that can take me to and from work. I park my car at work in the morning and do not move it until I leave in the afternoon. I do not make any unnecessary stops anymore -- just go straight home and park my car after work. On the weekend, if I have errands to run, I do them first thing in the morning before it gets hot, because we have had temperatures in the 80s and I refuse to use my air. I am outraged at the price of gas and energy prices. Meanwhile, CEOs of gas companies get compensated for the high gas prices that we as consumers must pay. I don't buy any of the stories about the Katrina disaster or the threat of Iran or any other cock and bull story. They will say anything to cover up the real story and that is more money for the gas companies and their friends in Washington.
Joan Williams, Charlotte, North Carolina, $2.82/gallon

Not affected my daily routine at all. I work in the city, I live in the city, and have not driven since last Labor Day. My driving has dropped so low I now have my only car (which gets 33 MPG) for sale on eBay. Typically I take public transportation, bike, and walk everywhere I need to go. It is sweet!
JR Wasko, Chicago, Illinois

I pay $2.95/gallon, diesel fuel. My routine has changed as follows: No more weekend trips. No sight-seeing, no trips anywhere except work if I can help it. Grocery shopping and other side trips are done before or after work on the way to or from home. The increased gasoline prices will most adversely affect spending on entertainment, home improvement, etc. forcing planned purchases to be put on hold indefinitely. For example, we were planning on creating a vegetable garden; not anymore!
David Slater, Allentown, Pennsylvania, $2.95/gallon diesel

Most definitely they have. Gas is now 2.99 a gallon. It is very sad when you have to cut out the fun things in life because of gas prices. My family does not do any extra "running," I go to work and pick up my children from day care and that is about all now. We do not make the trips to see the grandparents, or even the simple trips to the park, as often due to it just simply costing too much.
N. A., Mexico, New York, $2.99/gallon

I fill my car with 50 dollars worth of gas. I drive to the store to buy a 6 dollar bag of beef jerky. It takes me 3 dollars to go 14 miles to buy the jerky. I eat it all before I get home so I must go back to the store to buy more jerky for 6 dollars. Again it costs me 3 dollars in gas. I finish the jerky just as I arrive at home only to get an upset stomach from 1/2 pound of dried beef swelling in my stomach. I now have to spend another 3 dollars in gas to buy a 7 dollar bottle of Rolaids. This 1 hour of my life cost me 28 dollars. With the price of gas these days I think its time to give up on beef jerky. Another pleasure gone due to gas prices.
Joe Stain, Atlanta, Georgia

Our business has had to consolidate daily car trips for delivery and pick up of our product (aircraft parts) to 3 days a week versus every day due to the increased price of fuel.
Steve Fogler, Milford, Connecticut

Biking to work most days, gas prices have not affected my routine at all. Even on the days when I must drive, it's a 3-mile round-trip, so the $2.79 price at the pump makes little difference. By choosing to live close to work and commute by bike, I daily and proudly assert my energy near-independence.
Michael Godsey, Portland, Oregon, $2.79/gallon

It has change my whole daily routine. I bring lunch & snack, so I don't have to go out. If I need to go to a store,and it's not on my route home, I won't stop. I have to map out my weekend shopping stops. I really don't see it getting better any time soon. I'm currently paying $3.00 a gallon. I use to fill up on high grade for about $20, now it's about $35 for the cheapest I can find, which runs out quicker.
Nikki, Miami, Florida, $3.00/gallon

Regular gas is $2.89 at this second. The gas prices are outrageous and unfair. I try to do all my errands in one trip and no back tracking. If I forgot something it stays forgotten until the next errand run. I bank errands, which means I don't "run out" for one item or to do just one thing. I use to take the "long way" around to get to a place, now it's straight there and straight back and the absolute quickest way. I've even invested in street maps of Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Raleigh, North Carolina, just so I can map out the most efficient way to get back and forth without wasting gas. Regardless of retail/grocery sales prices, I try to go as much "one-stop" shopping as I possibly can.
Sylvia, Durham, North Carolina, $2.89/gallon

$1.78 and yes, it does change how I drive. I take a commuter van 112 miles roundtrip a day to work. I drive 12 miles to catch the van. If prices keep going up a few of us will commute to the commuter van. How awful is that. I won't be going shopping as much either.
Annette Bevill, Gun Barrel City, Texas, $1.78/gallon

Yes, gas prices affect my daily routine. My wife and I try to consolidate our errands into one trip, we shop for lower price stations and use features like cruise control to help reduce gas consumption. We're also seriously looking at hybrids as our next vehicle purchase. In a way I'm glad to see higher prices. I think continued "pain at the pump" will eventually result in less reliance on gas and oil. This will not only benefit forward thinking companies and governments, but hopefully help the environment.
Chip, Walled Lake, Michigan

If I can't get it on my way to or from work, we don't get it. No trips on days off, no movies, no dinners out etc. Gas prices have caused us to stop any clothing shopping, put off prescriptions until we have a few and not to buy anything special. If all that we have done is multiplied around the country, in a short time the economy will feel it badly.
Toni Boutwell, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Due to the increase in gas prices I now carpool ($2.899 for regular unleaded). This decreases my daily costs and eliminates shopping after work. I'm saving money all the way around, but if more people are doing the same, that will have an effect on the economy. I will also do more recreation that I can walk or bike to. I have canceled my summer road trip this year because of the gas increase. I fear that gas could go as high as $4.00 per gallon. If so, I will be eliminating more from my life: land-line phone, cable etc.
Kathryn, Liverpool, New York, $2.899/gallon

I'm one of the many people that have to drive to work each day, my trip is 128 miles each day, I stop for gas every two days so it never gets too low. At this writing I'm paying $2.69 a gallon. The trouble is that price goes up every day. The Exxon 3 blocks from my home went from $2.59 to $2.73 in one night. I'm now going for $80.00 to $85.00 a week just for five days. I don't use the car on weekends if I don't have to. When is GEORGE going to do something about it????
Bill, Clifton, New Jersey, $2.69/gallon

I am very concerned over the price of oil. The upward trend does not show any signs of decreasing and all of the analysts are indicating it will only go higher with no consensus on when it will turn lower. This is the one commodity that you have very little room to cut back, because you still have to drive to work, pick up the kids and go to the markets.
Mack, Mobile, Alabama

$3.18 for premium gas this morning in Irvine, California. Just wondering what lame excuse the oil companies and our government are thinking up to keep the price rising. Hurricane Katrina still impacting supply? Our government officials and oil barons are lining their pockets because we have failed as a society to curtail our dependency on foreign oil. We only have ourselves to blame.
Dan Nott, Long Beach, California, $3.18/gallon

Rising pump prices have not affected my daily routine. I still go about doing what I always do, I just know that when it comes time to fill my tank up I have to save a little bit more money now. I think about unnecessary trips so I do everything in one trip instead of going home and coming back out. I am concerned about the energy prices especially for people who barely could pay their bills before prices went up, and now I know it has to be hard. In my area I pay as of now $2.81 for regular unleaded. It takes around $42.00 to fill my tank up when it only took around $22.00 before.
Laniese, Hernando, Mississippi, $2.81/gallon

Rising gasoline prices have caused me to drive faster, so I can arrive at my destination before I run out of gas! Seriously, I work out of the immediate area, so my fuel consumption won't be affected by rising prices for quite a while. I DO shop around, and try to schedule my fill-ups to previously-known cheaper fuel sites (Costco off route 30 in Lancaster, Giant on Route 15 near Harrisburg, Hess on Route 422 in Douglasville, and Getty on Route 15 just south of Point Of Rocks). My favorite (and best-mileage) car requires premium (92+ octane) fuel, and I last paid $3.039/gallon in Chester County (less in Berks County). Lorton, Virginia, wanted $3.139 per gallon (for premium) last night (they didn't get it!). I decry the use of ethanol or other non efficiency (oxygenating) additives to my motor fuel, long for a return to tetraethyl lead, and see electric cars recharged by nuclear power plants as a long-term solution for the upcoming oil availability crisis (we need oil more for plastics and medicines). I also foresee our retaking, probably militarily, of the nationalized oil facilities we developed in the Middle East and 'lost' in the sixties and seventies to increasingly-nationalistic indigenous peoples (this may be offset in time into the future) by appropriate occupation and control of the Iranian oil fields. But that's just me! Nobody writes songs about cars anymore (e.g. - "Little GTO," "409" "In My Merry Oldsmobile," "Mustang Sally," "Dead Man's Curve," etc. -- aren't Lexis and Beamers emotion-inspiring, or has the "sameness" of design removed the "mystique" of driving "good" iron?
Larry Schear, East Coventry, Pennsylvania, $3.039/gallon

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