Memorial Day weekend was the traditional start of the summer driving season.
But this year, a declining economy led by historically high fuel prices rained on plans for family picnics and road trips.
And while the economy is surely forcing some Alexandria residents to change their plans for the summer, many local drivers are struggling daily to cope with the seemingly endless cost hikes.
In a culture that has been built around the automobile, were all feeling the pinch.
Its ridiculous, said Gary Miehl of Alexandria, who with his car in the shop he had to rent car but then said he was having trouble finding the money to drive over the Holiday weekend. Its affected me out of my pocket. Ive been taking public transportation more.
Minte, a cashier at Hess on Richmond Highway, said, Every day people complain. Its very hard to handle. Its very difficult to handle because every single day the price is going up and its not possible to convince our customers that its not our fault and that its not just us whos raised the prices.
Tameeka Gatewood said that she lives in Rockville and must commute to her job in Alexandria everyday. The cheapest gas near her is $4.09, but down the street it’s $4.20 so she will drive the extra three miles to fill up. “$3.95 is actually the cheapest I’ve seen,” she said. “Commuting is getting to be more and more difficult. I’m thinking about taking the train.”
Gatewood said she has already made adjustments to her standard of living, including bringing her lunch to work instead of eating out, which she used to do frequently.
With premium prices in Alexandria topping reaching $4.29 per gallon, Gatewood said said she’s thinking about working from home rather than driving to work every day.
Reported by Laura Ruby and Amy Ledig.