04/09/06 — Gas price hike puts brakes on car trips

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Gas price hike puts brakes on car trips

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 9, 2006 2:04 AM

Edward McCullen didn't plan to travel Easter weekend because gas prices were already too high.

Then, Friday morning they went up again.

"I don't know what the reason is this time," he said. "Is it because it's spring time, or just in time for the holidays?"

Many of the gas customers in the county who said they were considering traveling during Easter weekend have had to cancel their plans to visit out-of-town family members.

Ronnell Bass had planned to visit his sister in Maryland, but not anymore.

"It's outrageous," he said at the pump outside Arrington Mart on Bill Lane Boulevard. A gallon of regular was $2.72.

"We have to have it, and what can you do about it?" he asked.

The gas was $2.69 at the Friendly Mart on Indian Springs Road Friday afternoon, but store manager Jasmine Ortiz was expecting another phone call from her boss.

"They called me yesterday, and I put it up 10 cents," she said. "I don't think anybody's going anywhere."

Scott Hargrove, who was walking Friday, said he played a practical joke on Ms. Ortiz back when the gas was $3 a gallon. He slipped over to the station and changed the price on the sign to $1.15.

"At 3 a.m., people stopped in the middle of the night," he said. "You'd be amazed at the number of people who stopped and looked at the sign at 3 a.m. It was kind of funny to me."

No, he has no plans to travel for Easter.

Charles Meyers is also staying close to home.

"As high as gas is, by the time you buy gas, you can't afford to go anywhere else," he said. "You get for $10 what you used to get for $5."

Jewel Lambert came into the Friendly Mart to pay for her gas. She had filled her tank because she was expecting the price to rise again.

"You don't want me to tell you what I think," said Ms. Lambert, who had planned to visit her mother in New Bern.

"It will have to wait until another time," she said. "I'll have to stay close to home, and I thank God I work in town and don't have far to go."