LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Gas prices have never been higher nationwide this time of year and experts predict prices will go much higher. Southwest Louisiana motorists are not immune to the pain at the pump.
The average gas price for Lake Charles has risen one cent since yesterday and five cents from last week.
The steady rise is making life difficult for all residents, especially the middle class families.
The pain at the pump seems to be getting worse. Gas prices are hitting families hard during these trying economic times.
"We have a young family and it hurts me to know that we're spending almost 70 dollars to fill up the tank," said consumer Haley Rogers.
Rogers says it's depressing to know that getting to the store to put food on the table is a struggle.
"The American dream is not supposed to be living paycheck to paycheck and that's what we're all doing right now," said Rogers.
The current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.56. In Lake Charles, residents pay under that average at $3.48. Westlake resident Corey Harmon purchased a hybrid for his family last may due to the high gas prices.
"It saved us literally hundreds of dollars a month in gas," said Harmon.
Harmon tracks his gas and says the cheapest gas he's bought since May of last year was in December, he paid $2.88.
"I think that looking at the gas prices now and going oh my gosh they're so high, they're so high, the sky is falling, the sky is falling, what are we going to do," said Harmon. "You have to stop and really look. They've been higher and they'll drop again, and they'll raise again, and they'll drop again. It's just the way it is."
Driving techniques can also factor in to gas mileage. Harmon says he changed the way he drives to conserve fuel.
"I think if people would start to maybe adjust the way you drive just a little bit, make a few changes, I think you'd be surprised in how much more gas you can save."
Last year at this time gas was just under three dollars a gallon. According to louisianagasprices.com, the most expensive gas in Louisiana is around the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area. Lake Charles did have one Exxon station on the list with gas coming in at $3.69.