Gas Prices on the Rise: What Impact for Our Economy?

JONESBORO, AR -- Gas prices in Region 8 are hovering at $2.99 and in some places over $3.

"I think it makes it tough on a lot of people," said Mark Hogan.

"I think they're too high," said Ann Dearing.

Mark Hogan said he fills up about once a week and with the jump in gas prices he'll be spending about $40 more a month.  With that taken out of his current budget, it will effect other things.

"Higher fuel eats into what you would normally be spending money on," said Hogan.

Britney Sipa is a single mom who goes to school in Paragould and Jonesboro.

"I'm kind of wondering how I'm going to get back and forth to school.  It's a good thing it's November and I only have five weeks left and won't have to worry about it that much longer," said Sipa.

Of the people at the pump, most say they will make life style changes.

"It's ridiculous.  I'm probably going to get a car with better gas mileage," said Ross Burrow.

"Either staying at home or a lot of people riding together.  I think there will be a lot of carpooling going on," said Hogan.

Meanwhile, Jonesboro economist Randy Kesselring told Region 8 News our economy will be able to sustain the recent rise in gas prices.

"I don't think the price I extraordinarily high and I don't think there's any evidence to this point that they overburden the economy," said Kesselring.

He said for about 20 years, from 1980 to 2000, gas prices were relatively low and now that they're going up again American's are getting worried because this isn't what most of us are used to.

"We've changed the way that we behave.  We've changed the kind of cars that we purchase,"
 said Kesselring.

There are a lot of things that we can do without, but for the daily drivers gas isn't one of them.

"It's just one of those things that you don't like it but you unfortunately have to live with it," said Gary Hoyt.

With talk of gas topping the $4 mark in the next year Kesselring said we can find a way to make it work by cutting other things in our lives.

"If gasoline becomes more expensive than other things, people will find another way to spend so they don't spend as much on gasoline," said Kesselring.