Valley Residents Cope with Gas Pump Pain

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, May 29 2012 at 5:45 PM, Updated: Tue, May 29 2012 at 11:23 PM

With gas prices averaging about $4.29/gallon for regular gas in Medford, more people are pinching their pennies and deciding to ditch their gas guzzlers for more fuel efficient cars.

Car dealerships across our area say sales numbers are skyrocketing.

"Here at Crater Lake Mazda for the first quarter of 2012 we've seen a 61% increase in sales over the last year," said Crater Lake Mazda Manager, Rich Outfleet.

And across town, Toyota Prius sales are also doing well.

"As gas prices increase we do see an influx of Prius sales [...] probably about 15-20% increase this month alone," said Toyota General Sales Manager, Al Gunn.

It's a result of more people trading in gas guzzlers for fuel efficient cars...

But it's not just dealerships who are seeing an increase in sales,
officials at the Rogue Valley Transportation District said more people are also taking the bus these days.

"Whenever you see an increase in the cost of gasoline, you see an increase in ridership," said Julie Brown, RVTD General Manager.

"It's efficient, saves time and money. Definitely more efficient than a car that has gas, repairs, oil changes tune ups, that kind of stuff," said Keith Haxton who rides the bus from Ashland to Medford.

RVTD said their extended hours during the week and service on Saturdays has also increased ridership.

"We saw 16.9 percent increase," began Brown.

"[It's] something we haven't seen in over 10 years," she continued.

A monthly bus pass costs $56. Those interested in leaving their car at home can try searching for carpool matches at

Some viewers on Facebook said they're calling it quits and deciding to return their leased cars to the dealership because payments and gas are getting too expensive for the family budget.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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