With gas at milestone, drivers feeling squeezed

NEW YORK (AP) — Cabbies here complain their take-home pay is thinner than it used to be. Trucking companies across the country are making drivers slow down to conserve fuel. Filling station owners plead that really, really, the skyrocketing prices aren’t their fault.

And the rest of us? With gas prices now averaging $3.50 a gallon nationwide, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, more and more Americans who have to drive are weighing the need for each and every trip.

“To get to the doctors and all that, it’s an awful lot of money,” said Carol Licata, a 75-year-old retiree from Arnold, Pa., who said a larger portion of her fixed income is now going toward gas. “I don’t drive that often, but have to take necessary trips ... and (gas) takes a big chunk out of our budget.”

Some would-be drivers are considering less energy-dependent alternatives simply for money’s sake.

In Los Angeles, for example, fiction writer Brian Edwards sold his gas-guzzling Ford truck and now relies on his skateboard or the bus to get around. Sharon Cooper of Chicago, meanwhile, said she is planning to buy a bicycle to use on her 2 1/2-mile commute to work.

And everyone, it seems, is more than willing to join in the griping.

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