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Gas Prices Changing Holiday Behavior

November 20th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

The high price of gas is not keeping holiday travelers off the road this year, but it may have an impact on what else they buy. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the high prices are also sending more people to pawn shops.

Patrick McCarthys fill up was north of 50 dollars. Despite paying 319 a gallon, Hes still driving from Tallahassee to Key West for the holidays.

“Ill probably be going home and not doing much because its gonna drain most of my bank account just to get home,” McCarthy said.

The interstates are already jammed with holiday travelers like Patrick. AAA Motor Clubs says car travel will be up 2 percent this season.

“Were kind getting conditioned to the fact that gasoline prices are high,” Brenda Smith with AAA Motor Clubs said. “They look like theyre here to stay. Theres been some speculation that next year they could go as high as four dollars. ”

One way people are staying on the road is stopping hear first.

Every time gas prices spike, pawnshop business goes up. But this time we have a double whammy of high gas prices and the need to travel for the holidays.

“Were having people come in for small loans, like small items, looking to borrow 10 or 15 dollars for gas money to get home and stuff like that,” pawn shop operator Alex Folmar said.

State tourism numbers are due out next week. Because of gas prices, they are expected to be flat at best.

“Im as frustrated as the people are.,” Governor Charlie Crist said. “Gas is expensive. Our dependence on foreign oil is a shame.”

But for the next few weeks, most motorists seem resigned to higher gas prices…and still planning to travel and celebrate the holidays like years past.

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