Budgeting for High Gas Prices

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It's the last thing drivers want to hear, gas prices going up again, and this year those prices just keep getting higher.

Robin Warmack says she never expected prices to go above three dollars a gallon.

"It seems like when I budget my money, I have almost half of what I'm trying to budget with."

Jim Smith of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association says hurricane damage to Gulf oil refineries is partly to blame for the soaring prices.

Smith says prices have nearly doubled from what they were this time last year.

"Prices now are anywhere from 2.99 to 3.49 a gallon."

And for drivers like Michelle Miller, that price hike has really hit her hard.

"As a college student, it's really taking away from my leisure time. It's almost making me stay in the house so that I won't have to pay the high prices of gas."

Robert McClendon says it’s not just his personal time that's affected; he says he's also had to make career changes.

"The job I used to be with I had to do a lot of traveling. Now because of the gas prices, it's just nearly impossible to do what I was doing."

So let’s say these drivers spent about $1,000 on gas last year. They're now paying a whopping $2,000 for the year, and if there are two drivers per household you can expect a family to pay $4,000 in gas alone.

Warmack drives an SUV and says she can definitely feel the pain at the pump.

"It used to cost me about $50 to fill this up and now it costs me about $80. That's quite a change in my budget. Anybody wanna buy my car?" she says.

Experts say driving a more fuel efficient car is one way to save. They also suggest combining trips, keeping your car in tip top shape and always driving the speed limit.