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As gas prices rise, drivers cut back

From the Associated Press comes the news that everyone knew was coming:

With the price of gas above $3.50 a gallon in all but one state, there are signs that Americans are cutting back on driving, reversing a steady increase in demand for fuel as the economy improves. Gas sales have fallen for five straight weeks, the first time that has happened since November, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending at 140,000 service stations nationwide.
In the United States, people are watching their local gas stations a little more carefully. Some are even getting rid of their old gas-guzzler. Andrea Meyer of Manteno, Ill., has done both. She buys gas in the middle of the week because prices seem to jump over the weekend. And she recently sold her 2005 Chevy Envoy SUV and bought a 2011 Chevy Cruze, which gets 30 miles per gallon. She still spent about $200 on gas for the new car from mid-February to mid-March.

The question is whether the shift to more fuel efficient vehicles is a long term trend or whether Americans will go back to their SUVs as soon as gas prices come down, which is more or less what happened in 2010.

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