Knoxville (WVLT) - Today, gasoline prices are at a record high since Hurricane Katrina. Experts place the blame on refinery shutdowns as we head into the summer driving season.
Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel talked with parents about how this might effect summer vacation plans.
"This is supposed to be the country of opportunity, and this is going to put a crunch on a lot of people," local resident Judy Lykens said.
At an average of $3.07 a gallon, gas prices aren't just effecting the pocketbook as the summer driving season approaches. Parents are asking themselves a lot of tough questions.
"Whether we're going to take a vacation, whether we're going to just go to Pigeon Forge or Knoxville for the day, it really makes a big difference," Lykens said.
It's hard to predict what prices will do next. Some experts say we'll see it level off this summer, others say expect another spike in August, but drivers say no matter what, prices are so high, they're having to cut back."
"With prices where they are, I don't usually fill up. So now I just got 30-dollars," local resident Rick Trent said.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, retail giants, like Walmart, are blaming high gas prices for a "rollback" in sales.
"I think a dollar and a quarter a gallon and the oil companies would be making a profit," Trent said.
Parents say prices help determine their kids extra-curricular.
"He is going play football and things like that and it's an across town trip, but gas prices could certainly influence my decision as to whether I'm going to let him do that," Lykens said.
So whether it's sports, vacation or just a drive through town, gas prices are forcing East Tennesseans to think twice.
"You have to really think about it seriously. Am I going to go watch the Smokies.. mmm... maybe not," Trent said.
And if prices continue to rise, some say there's only one option left.
"We'll start staying home! hahaha!!" Lykens said.
In the Knoxville area, it's not so bad. AAA reports $2.83 per gallon on average. That's .25 less than the national average.
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