Drivers Paying for Holiday Spirit

December 20, 2006 - Posted at 6:12 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- The holidays are here and that means one sure thing... higher gas prices.  The predictable climb at the pump started Tuesday in Region 8 with the average price of a gallon of gasoline jumping around $0.10.

On Wednesday, drivers were paying more for their holiday spirit.

"We have to work, we have to travel, we have to pay the price," said Pete Barker while he getting gas in Jonesboro.

And its money going down the tank.  Holiday travel has gas prices peaking across the country.

"I think sometimes they take advantage of the situation and with the shortage in heating oil and things that I am hearing, it wasn't unexpected," said Barker.

"Didn't surprise me a bit, I've been waiting on it to happen.  It's happened a little bit later then I thought it would," said Emerson Ambulance driver Scott Hutton.

While the price at the pump may have conveniently spiked for the holiday season, it may not be the only reason region 8 drivers are choosing to stay home this year.

"Staying here, I've got no place to go.  Just sitting around, waiting on the gas prices to go down," said Hutton.

It costs $70-$100 a day to fill up the ambulance and Hutton says it takes two tanks of gas for an out of town trip.

"It runs a lot of money.  That and we run four trucks during the day and so it runs quiet a bit of money," said Hutton.

Leaving some longing for the good old days.

"What do you think about these gas prices?" asked K8 reporter Heather Flanigan.

"I don't like them," said Jim Murray, "I would like them if they were 50 cents cheaper."

Region 8 resident's can be thankful we're not paying west coast prices.  Motorists there are paying an average of $2.54 a gallon. Nationwide, gulf coast residents pay the least, at a little over $2.19.