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Pain at the pump forces drivers to cut back

By WKTV News

NEW YORK (AP) - With the price of gas above $3.50 a gallon in nearly the entire country, there are signs that Americans are
cutting back on driving.

It marks a turnaround from a steady increase in demand for fuel
as the economy improved.

According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending at
140,000 service stations, gas sales have fallen for five weeks in a
row.

Before that, demand had increased for two months. And some
analysts had expected the trend to continue, what with the 216,000
jobs that were added in March.

Instead, according to a March survey by the Oil Price
Information Service, about 70 percent of the nation's major
gas-station chains say sales have fallen.

This year, gas prices have shot up as unrest in North Africa and
the Middle East rattled energy markets.

A gallon of unleaded regular costs $3.77 on average, and only
Wyoming has an average lower than $3.50. Most analysts are sticking
to forecasts of a high of $4 a gallon, though some have predicted
$5 gas.

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