Recent gas price hike affecting local driving habits

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Local drivers have recently felt alittle more pain at the pump.

The AAA reports gas prices statewide have gone up nearly 50cents in the past month alone.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded gas in Arkansas isnow $3.63. That's up 46 cents from $3.17 per gallon one month ago.

The price spike has hitdrivers hardest in their bank accounts, so a few like Keena Reed of Blythevilleare now trying to fill up less often.

Reed stopped Monday at the Quik Stop in Blytheville, wheregas now costs customers $3.56 per gallon.

"Working at a minimum wage-paying job, that's too much," shesaid.

Reed usually has to fill up her car two to three times aweek, but her funds are close to running on empty. A full tank of gas now setsher back about $60.

"I hope it goes down a lot," she said, "at least to $3 – if notthat, then $3.10 or something because $3.50 is too much."

"You've got to buy gasoline," said Robert Lesley, who passedthrough Blytheville traveling to Kentucky. "I mean, there's no way around thatto get where you want to go."

Lesley is on the road a lot for work. His travels have takenhim throughout the region, where he says gas prices are all about the same.

"The prices I see here in Arkansas are about what you see incentral Mississippi and about what I saw driving through Tennessee as well,"Lesley said. "[The price] is all high. It's high everywhere. You're not goingto get a break anywhere."

Prices nationally at the pump have jumped almost 20 centsduring the past two weeks, but drivers may get some relief soon. Experts saycrude oil and wholesale prices are declining, so people can expect what theypay at the pump to go down as well.

A price drop, however, cannot come soon enough for Reed, whohas decided to cut back her commute.

"Home and back – that's pretty much it," she said, laughing."It's a sacrifice to want to go out and have a good time so I can't really getout that much, so basically it's home and back."

Copyright 2013 KAIT.All rights reserved.