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San Diegans Get Active To Cope With High Gas Prices

Audio

Aired 3/11/11

Skyrocketing gas prices are wreaking havoc on pocket books. We asked some of our listeners about what they’re doing to cope with the soaring prices.

— KPBS listeners on Facebook have found lots of ways to cope with spending almost $4 for a gallon of unleaded gas.

Gas prices in San Diego on March 10, 2011. Prices were about 28 percent higher this week than they were a year earlier.
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Above: Gas prices in San Diego on March 10, 2011. Prices were about 28 percent higher this week than they were a year earlier.

Some said they’re walking more or scheduling errands to get the most done during each car trip. Others said they’ve even seen some benefits from the soaring prices.

“When the gas prices plummeted in 2008, I foresaw the eventual come back of high oil prices and reallocated the 401K and stock portfolios to be heavier on the energy sector,” Dave Bern wrote in response to a question posted on the KPBS Facebook page. “These changes are now leveraging the ever increasing spendings at the pump quite well.”

Annette Aguilar, on the other hand, said paying $50 to fill up her car’s gas tank is taking a toll on her finances. She commutes to Cal State San Marcos twice a week from Chula Vista and sometimes goes to great lengths to save what money she can at the pump.

“I drove home yesterday from San Marcos with my gas light on, because the gas stations I was passing, were too expensive,” said the literature major who works in Otay Mesa. “I know that there’s a gas station down here in Otay Mesa where all the truck drivers go and it’s $3.79 for the cheapest gas. So, I held out and drove down here this morning from Chula Vista to Otay Mesa to get that $3.79 gas.”

Aguilar said she might have stuck closer to home if prices were this high when she started school in 2009.

Jo Tootell said she is using her motorcycle to commute from Vista to school in Kearny Mesa now that it costs about $20 more to fill up her car’s gas tank. Link many of the other commenters, Tootell said she is walking instead of driving whenever she can. But – her definition of a short, walkable trip may not be what most have in mind.

“Instead of getting in the car or getting on the bike for anything that is really within – even if it’s a three hour walk – I make it so that I lump my errands together and I really schedule my days so that I can make exercise out of it instead of trying to spend money on gas,” she said.

All of the additional physical activity is paying off for some. Peter Bryan said riding his bike more to avoid filling up the gas tank has caused him to shed a few pounds. Maybe higher prices aren’t all bad.

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