Gas prices soar!

Michigan drivers changing patterns to save money due to rising gas prices

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

DETROIT - Gas prices jumped again in the Detroit area overnight.

The average price for a gallon of regular has smashed through the $4 mark and is now priced at $4.04. 

However, Local 4 is seeing far higher prices all over the area. 

$4.20 and $4.25 are on the high end, most stations are priced at $4.10 to $4.15 a gallon. 

Most stations offer a "cash price" and charge more if you use your credit or debit card.  That means, more people will be paying cash at the pump and it's never a bad idea to think about your safety when you fill up. 

Stay safe while you fill up

Safety experts will always tell you to be aware of your surroundings when you pull to the pump.

Barney and Constance Trusewicz noticed a man standing at the Mobil station last Saturday evening. The man's face and head were covered in "swastika" and dollar sign tattoos.  Yet, when Mr. Trusewicz got out of the car to ask the clerk to turn the pump on, the man got into his car and put a foot long knife to his wife, Constance.  

Barney Trusewicz is 81. His wife is 78. 

The man demanded Constanceto get out of the car and he said he was stealing it.  Barney Trusewicz reached into the car, held the man's arm down and was able to get the keys out of the ignition.

The man, 39 year old Christopher Bowens ran off and was arrested a short time later. 

Safety experts say never leave your keys in your car and always lock your car at the pump.

"I'll lock the darn car, when I leave the car, I'll lock it." Mr. Trusewicz said. 

Other safety tips include not distracting yourself by talking on your cell phone when filling up and never leave any valuables in your car when you walk in to pay.

Gas prices and summer travel

Rising gas prices are likely to curb summer travel plans for both vacationers and business travelers, according to a trade group's survey.

The U.S. Travel Association said that its survey of 2,500 households conducted earlier this month found 44% said the higher gas prices would cause them to take fewer vacation trips this summer, while 37% said they would take shorter trips. Some people said they would do both. Only 19% said they would take fewer business trips because of higher gas prices, but more business travelers said they would cut back other spending on the road, including 28% who plan to spend less at restaurants, and 22% who would cut back on spending on hotels.

The ripple effect

Of course, the higher oil prices aren't just being felt at the gas pump. Airfares are also climbing, and those surveyed said those higher fares will affect their travel plans as well.

Both business and vacation travelers said their first response will be to change travel plans to take advantage of lower fares, such as giving up non-stop flights or changing carriers.

In addition, 27% of vacationers and 20% of business travelers said they would take fewer flights this summer due to higher airfares. In addition, 10% of vacationers said they would change modes of transportation due to the higher airfares. And significant numbers of both groups would cut spending on other items, such as food and lodging.

Real-time figures for airfares aren't available as they are for gas prices. But Airlines for America, the industry trade group, said the amount airlines charge per passenger mile in the first two months of this year was up 7.4% compared to a year earlier.

The higher prices could also affect behavior into the fall, with 43% of all travelers saying higher oil prices could have an impact on their votes for president and Congress in November, while 32% said it won't impact their vote, and 25% aren't sure.

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