Rising Gas Prices Forcing Oklahomans To Cut Back

Friday, March 4th 2011, 4:02 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A year ago, we paid an average of $2.56 for a gallon of gas. Now, the price at the pump is enough to give many drivers the blues.

3/3/2011 Related Story: Price Of Gas In Tulsa Continues To Climb

"I think it's a shame, it's too high," Donna Walker said.

"We stopped driving my truck," Mike Smith said. "It's definitely tough watching it go up"

"It's awful hard on people," said Floyd Davis. "I wish they'd go down."

The price of gas is high alright. We're up to an average of $3.33 in Oklahoma and it's getting worse. For many paying more is tough.

"It don't make no sense," Walker said.

"I got to have the gas, so what can I say, I've got to buy it," Ron Mims said.

A week ago it was 16 cents less; 35 cents cheaper a month ago.

The experts say instability in the Middle East is spilling over to our gas pumps. Regular working folks say it means instability in their budgets.

"It is, it sure is," Davis said.

"I go to work and I come home, and have to stay home. Can't go no place else," said Walker.

Paying to fill Todd Holts' Excursion all the way up, he says forget about it.

"I don't even want to think about it, I try not to," he said.

To be fair, we're still a long way off from our state record average price for gas set in 2008 at $3.95.  But now, after a couple of years of recession, paying more feels worse than it once did.

"People on fixed incomes, they have a hard time," Floyd Davis said.

There's no doubt higher gas prices are forcing people to cut back on spending on other things, which could potentially slow any economic recovery.

"We're definitely staying home a lot more," Smith said.

"We're probably going to have to before it's over with, we're going to have to cut back," said Davis.

The best hope is that the upward climb of prices stops and soon, before we're all blue and broke.

AAA Oklahoma has some good information on how we can conserve gas:

  • Check your tires with a gauge regularly. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.
  • Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment, and make sure your brakes are properly adjusted to minimize rolling resistance.
  • Change your motor oil as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Check and replace air filters. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10 percent increase in fuel consumption.
  • Don't let your vehicle idle unnecessarily. Turn the engine off every time you need to "quickly run into" the store, bank, daycare, etc.
  • Practicing fuel efficient driving techniques also can improve fuel mileage more than 10 percent, the U.S. Department of Energy reports.
  • Take advantage of car pools or plan your errands better to make one trip instead of three or four.
  • Observe the speed limit. As you drive faster, aerodynamic drag increases. At speeds above 55 mph, fuel economy drops rapidly.
  • Take advantage of your cruise control feature to help you maintain a constant speed when traveling on highways.
  • Avoid hard acceleration and drive defensively; try to brake and accelerate smoothly. Do not idle unnecessarily; most cars today do not need to be warmed up.
  • Don't use premium fuel if your car does not require it.
  • Keep your eyes open for low fuel prices, but don't waste gas driving to a distant station just to save a few cents.