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Gas prices put brake on spring for many

University of Iowa Jimmy Novak didn t let gasoline prices keep him making a spring break to Daytona Beach, Fla. his fraternity brothers last

But the prospect of $50 fill-ups did alter his We re squeezing five people in a car to money on gas, and we made a ton of before we left instead of for fast food, says We just told ourselves it s to cost a pretty penny.

For and thousands of other spring escalating fuel prices are the brakes on road trips. to the motorist group AAA, the for a gallon of regular is up 37 cents Feb. 22, the second-fastest rate of in the industry s history.

Some vacationers are staying home, others will still but compensate by spending less, AAA spokesman Troy Green. to an unscientific online poll by USA a quarter of nearly 700 respondents high gas prices had prompted to cancel a spring trip, an additional 24% traveling but staying to home.

And if Middle East continues to translate into at the pump, the staycation could a comeback: Green notes the number of Memorial Day road took a nose dive in when gas prices were toward an all-time average of $4.11 a gallon, set in July of year.

For now, travel marketers optimistic that a trifecta of a winter, delayed gratification and economy will trump gas prices. Advance bookings for and April are up sharply at many and recent airfare increases to the rising cost of fuel are road trips cheap by

Lodging reservations at the spring hot spot Panama City, are on par with last year s which took place the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April, says Dan Rowe, CEO of the City Convention and Visitors

March is the city s third-biggest month after June and and the bureau held promotional at several Midwestern college this winter to reassure that area beaches clean and free of oil.

If you out the incremental cost (of higher gas over several days, it s a relatively minor part of a says Rowe. I don t think are going to sacrifice a week at the over a few extra dollars.

adds Adam Weissenberg, chairman of Deloitte s tourism, and leisure sector, If prices rising to $4.50 or $5 a gallon, affects people emotionally.

Cutting corners

For Billy and Carr, who work part delivering vehicles for a Georgia dealership, the pain is already Last week, they at a suburban Atlanta station to put $5 of gas the pickup they were off. Normally, we fill up, said Billy Carr, 72.

The have canceled their plans for this year, their usual spring and trips to Florida and North s Outer Banks. Their RV idle in the backyard: It costs too to fill it up.

In California, where gas prices are the highest in the continental USA at per gallon, San Francisco-based Personality just launched a Get Pumped that includes a $10 gas card for night s stay. Such common during the gas crisis of could proliferate across the this year as well, Marti Mayne of the Professional of Innkeepers International.

California gas are a particular concern in Las Vegas, draws nearly a third of its from the Golden State and saw spending plummet during the

We are becoming increasingly concerned the rapid rise in the price of says John Restrepo, a Las economist.

In the last 12 months, gas prices in Los have surged 28%, a 15% jump in the last 30 days And now the airlines are starting to raise prices because of their fuel costs, Restrepo

When you combine that an annual 2% rise in food the highest since 2009, of this is exactly good for Las Vegas discretionary-spending-based economy, finally appears to be stabilizing.

traffic has been strong at of the Border, the iconic Interstate 95 attraction and watering hole at the of North and South Carolina, spokeswoman Susanne Pelt.

But it s to think what may happen if gas keep going up, she adds. We re kind of waiting and seeing.

Quake May Cut Global Auto by About 30%, Researcher IHS

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Parts shortages by Japan’s record earthquake may global automobile production by 30 percent, research firm IHS said today.

If parts affected by the quake don’t to operation within six weeks, auto output may drop as as 100,000 vehicles a day, Michael Robinet, vice of Lexington, Massachusetts-based IHS. The produces 280,000 to 300,000 daily, he said.

“Most vehicle manufacturers be affected by this,” Robinet in a telephone interview. “It be very difficult for any major to escape this disaster.”

13 percent of global auto production is down right now and of about 320,000 vehicles has lost, mostly in Japan, said.

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Auto executives refrained from forecasting production as their managers other sources for parts. If aren’t found soon, major automakers will disruptions by mid-April because networks are intertwined, Robinet

Automakers and parts suppliers the globe are girding for possible of key parts, especially electronics and components, Robinet said. If can’t find alternate of parts, or if plants don’t on line in eight weeks, as as 40 percent of daily production may be he said.

Lost Production

The week of April could the start of more severe slowdowns, IHS said. The industry may 1.2 million to 1.8 million vehicles by and almost 3 million units eight weeks, with half of the losses coming assembly plants outside of according to an IHS presentation.

“We could lose up to 5 vehicles in a worst-case scenario,” said. “This will income for the entire year if continues for an extended period of

While the earthquake is “disruptive,” aren’t likely to lose as production as IHS’s worst-case said Jeff Liker, a of Michigan engineering professor who the industry.

“It’s not the majority of but rather a small number of that are critical,” Liker in an interview. “There may be a part is three levels down an circuit board or something is needed. They will that out and find alternative

Honda Closings

Honda Co. which today extended at two car- assembly factories April 3, is one of the most exposed Robinet said. The automaker has 110 located in the earthquake zone, and 10 of them can’t say precisely how it will take for them to said Ed Miller, a spokesman.

Motor Corp. (7203). the largest automaker, has shut all vehicle-assembly plants in Japan at least March 26. The company it will resume production of hybrid models in Japan on 28.

General Motors Co. (GM) has two compact-car plants in Europe and a factory in Shreveport, Louisiana, of parts shortages. GM sent parts from Shreveport to a in Kansas City, Kansas, it assembles the more- profitable Malibu and Buick LaCrosse said two people familiar the matter.

GM executives sent out a on March 18 asking employees to travel and expenses to only business. The move was a precautionary said Sherrie Childers a spokeswoman.

Ford Motor Co. (F) had any disruptions yet, said Nissen, a spokesman.

Automakers can up for one week of lost production about six weeks of overtime, said. Japanese carmakers may not be to make up the lost output in he said.

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