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Five ways Americans are coping with $4 a gallon gas prices

While Americans are paying an average of $3.51 per gallon to fill up their gas tanks, the average is far higher – $3.90 – in California due largely to laws requiring specific blends for emission standards. How do people cope with $4 gas prices? One is buying fewer lattes, another is following dubious web tips and filling up only in the morning.

Here are five portraits of taken from two California gas stations where the prices were $4.01 and $4.11 for a gallon of regular Tuesday.

By Daniel B. Wood, Staff writer

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A motorist fuels up at a gas station in Santa Cruz, Calif., Monday.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

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1. The 512-mile-a-week driver

Levon Goldblatt is a 40-something investment consultant who spends a large portion of his business time driving to clients' homes all over southern California. His average weekly mileage: 320 to 512 miles.

Three weeks ago, he stopped using his Toyota Forerunner SUV and switched to a 2003 Honda Accord.

“I was filling my Forerunner [16-gallon tank] four times a week, so when gas hit $3.80 a gallon, I knew I had to do something,” says Mr. Goldblatt. Now, his wife uses the Forerunner for neighborhood-only errands, and he gets 30 miles per gallon or more with his Accord, whose lease he assumed from his brother.

“Now, I drive and drive and drive,and look down and still have part of a tank left,” he says. “It’s a giant savings for me without any noticeable loss in driving quality or aesthetics.”

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