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Gas prices hit home

Heading to the Grand Canyon or Disney World this summer? Some families are saying "no" to big vacations like these. And it's not due to elbowing tourists or droning guides. It's gas prices.

A survey by progressive.com, an auto-insurance provider, asked consumers what they would do if gas prices continued to rise. More than half (53 percent) said high prices would affect their summer vacation plans, and 21 percent said they would vacation closer to home.

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Other findings:

*43 percent would drive less to visit relatives.

*21 percent would drive between five and 10 miles to save 5 cents a gallon for gas.

*68 percent of sports-car drivers said they have driven less because of high gas prices, versus 42 percent of SUV owners.

This summer, the Energy Information Administration projects gas prices to average $1.46 per gallon, 29 cents higher than last summer.

Another survey, by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, found Americans are driving 34 percent more miles than they did 20 years ago, about 13,000 miles per year. The average American driver buys 690 gallons of gas a year, representing 3 percent to 3.5 percent of total household income.

That's not bad compared with other countries. Last year, for example, British drivers paid more than $4.26 per gallon, whereas Americans paid only $1.16.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society