In N. Carolina, gasoline prices take toll on lives

Master carpenter Luciano Garcia works for himself on jobs close to home these days — he can't afford commuting to work for contractors in South Carolina and beyond.And he recently canceled driving trips to visit his 30-year-old daughter in Florida and 17-year-old son in New York.

Historically high gas prices are taking a toll on the family and business of the 55-year-old Dominican native. Like Garcia, others across the country and region are cutting down on gasoline usage.

Carol Gifford, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas, said the average per-gallon price will probably set a new Charlotte-area record this month, if not today. The average Tuesday was $3.209, just shy of the all-time high of $3.211 set September 2005, following disruption of refinery operations from Hurricane Katrina Nationally on Tuesday, the average price per gallon hit another record high of $3.2272 a gallon as the future price of a barrel of oil notched another record at $108.75.

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