Friday, July 03, 2009

Americans take to road but cautious after gas shock

GRAPEVINE, Texas (Reuters) - Robert Neal will take to the road this Independence Day holiday the same as millions of other Americans. But there's a difference in their road-trip ritual this Fourth of July.

The price of gasoline, while down sharply from last year's peak, means the 74-year-old owner of a motor home may not venture as far as he has in the past.

Standing in shorts and sneakers outside his RV at a campground in Grapevine, a lakeside town near Dallas, Neal said he and his wife remained unsure where to go next. "The gas price as it is now, it's a maybe, maybe," he said.

The travel and auto group AAA projected last week that U.S. travel over the holiday weekend would drop 1.9 percent this year compared to 2008, a casualty of higher fuel prices and economic worries.

Gasoline prices are about a third lower than they were a year ago, but increases at the pump will steer Americans away from road trips, AAA said. Retail prices for regular gasoline averaged nearly $2.63 a gallon on Thursday, about 11 percent higher than they were around a month ago.
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