Gas prices strain struggling households

The recent spike in gasoline prices comes at a particularly unfortunate time -- many Americans are still reeling from the economic downturn. Here is how some people have responded to the return of pain at the pump.

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Paul Vasquez: Sorry, economy, I can't help you
Paul Vasquez: Sorry, economy, I can't help you
Paul and Yolanda Vasquez have cut back on spending due to rising gas prices.
IT Administrator, 30, Glen Head, N.Y.

Last year, when the price of gas hit its all-time high, I had to cut down to regular (grade) so I could get the total fill-up price under $85.

As the price of everything else went up, I found myself using my credit cards all the time to get gas.

I took out a loan, and that helped to pay off some bills. I also refinanced my car loan so that I could lower my monthly costs.

Once the price of gas started to go down, I felt the savings I had created would allow me to pay off my cards, and actually save some money.

This is provided the costs of fuel did not go up again. However, prices are already over $3 a gallon at pretty much every gas station.

If I have learned anything from all this, it's that there are things I can live without. As much as I was used to going out to eat two times a month, I didn't miss it, especially not the bill!

I don't drive unnecessarily any more, and I don't plan on traveling this summer. So...sorry, economy, I can't help you out like I did last year.

NEXT: Heather Beyer: We live paycheck to paycheck
Last updated April 09 2010: 3:04 PM ET
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