Consumers cut vacations short as gas prices rise

Lawton_Prices of gas pushed past a record high of $3.40 per gallon nationally on Thursday, fulfilling expectations that prices will keep climbing toward four dollars as the summer driving season approaches. The cost of gas has yet to hit $4.00, but in Lawton, at $3.37 it's possibly a record high in this area. The cost of fuel is so high, some people are forced to rethink this year's summer vacation.

With gas prices nearly 10 cents higher than this time last week, and 64 cents higher than last year, the increase has single dad Asa Lopez thinking twice about how to spend his family's summer vacation. "I wouldn't mind taking him somewhere - like Missouri - but, we really can't afford it," he says. After filling his tank, he thinks their trip may have to be a bit closer to home.

The gas price increase is hitting everyone, and has jumped nearly 10 cents per gallon in Lawton this week. Analysts predict - and have been predicting - that petrol prices could increase to as much as $4.00 per gallon this summer. If the predictions prove true, it won't only put a halt to a lot of trips on the road - it will effect summer hot spots such as the lake.

Cashier Mary Lile sells gas to RV drivers and boaters at Lake Lawtonka. Vacations, you know, are pretty much out for people like me," she says. "And, people going out on the lake everyday is not going to happen." Although business at the lake is usually booming in the spring and summer months, this year - not so much. She says it all comes down to what people are paying at the pump. "They usually would be packed down here," she says. "But, they're not doing it this year. Most people that we saw once a week, are coming once a month. The price of gas is way too much to get a boat out."

On the other hand, Air Travel Bargains Agent George Johnsen says that even though the cost of jet fuel is higher, flying is not as expensive as driving. "Our tour and cruise business is up," he says. "I think a lot of that is just because with the air, and the complete package, its not as expensive as driving to a lot of places."

But, for Asa and his son Anthony, it will be another hot summer spent close to home. "That's [the price of gas] basically the only reason were not going, because, I mean, really as you get outside Oklahoma, it just gets higher," he says.

Travel agents say airline tickets are up 30% from last year, but it still may be cheaper than filling your gas tank on a road trip.