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Gas Prices Drive Consumers To Cut Back

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Gov. Martin O'Malley says the state's gas tax doesn't raise as much as it use to.
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Gov. Martin O'Malley says the state's gas tax doesn't raise as much as it use to.

For five consecutive weeks, American commuters have bought less gasoline than they did last year this time, according to metrics-watcher SpendingPulse. SpendingPulse typically tracks the volume of gas sold at 140,000 services stations nationwide.

At this gas station in the District where the price of premium unleaded is pushing $4.70 a gallon, the pumps are silent. It was nearly an hour before Tom drove in with his boss' van. He won't give his last name because he knows he's spending too much, but says he had no choice.

"Because I don't want to run out of gas. I got a messed-up gas gauge and don't know when the last time I filled up was. If me boss hears this...Sorry Boss Man," he says.

AAA Mid-Atlantic's John Townsend says the numbers are disturbing.

"That means the average consumer is paying $65.40 more for gas than he was at this time last year per month," he says.

New figures show sales at more than half of the region's major gas stations have dropped 3 percent or more -- the sharpest drop since 2008.

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