The Easter holiday weekend is upon us and many New Jerseyans are opting to stay close to home rather than deal with the soaring gas prices.

“The average price for a gallon of regular in New Jersey is $3.73. That compares to $3.46 per gallon a year ago,” said Tracy Noble, AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson. “That is a dramatic increase over last year. While we are still lower than the national average of $3.93 per gallon, it’s still a significantly sharp increase.”

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How will the prices at the pump effect travel over the coming months? “Folks that have made travel plans far enough in advance are most likely going to stick to those plans especially if they booked airfare and hotels already. But, we are going to see people curb their automobile travel coming into the spring and summer driving season,” said Noble. “Those last minute trips that people may have taken last year will most likely not be happening this year.”

“We saw many people use the term ‘staycation’ very abundantly in 2008 when we saw gas prices at four dollars per gallon and we’re expecting prices to reach that level again in the coming months,” said Noble. “So, we’re expecting people to stay much closer to home and the Jersey Shore is about fifty miles on average from most people in the Garden State, so I think people are definitely going to take advantage of that this year.”

“When gas prices go up, what we see most typically is people cutting back their spending in other areas and usually entertainment spending is the first to go. So, people will likely cut back on their spending at restaurants, they may consolidate their driving a little more than usual. What used to cost 30 to 40 dollars to fill up the average car with fuel is now costing anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars. That’s a significant spike,” said Noble.

CONVERSATION TOPIC: Will high gas prices keep you close to home this Easter? Discuss below…