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Gas Climbs To $4, Bikes Become Economic Option

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gas prices are once again on the move. Across the metro, gas is inching closer to that $4 mark.

Last year at this time, Minnesotans were paying two $2.86 a gallon. A month ago, it was $3.57. Tonight, the average price at the pump is $3.95 and rising.

“It’s almost four dollars a gallon, its crazy,” said Rodney Thill, a student.

For people pulling in to fill up at Bobby and Steve’s in Minneapolis, topping off the tank isn’t an option.

“Try to pump up to at least half a tank when I can; I can never fill it up to full tank,” Thill said.

Manny just put in what they can afford.

“Right now it’s at 61 bucks for 15 and-a-half gallons,” Kirk Osgood said.

It’s costing Osgood more money than ever to run his limousine service. He says the price of gas is impacting his business.

“It makes it a little harder to make ends meet, so if it gets any higher I am going to have to raise my rates again,” Osgood said.

Even businesses like Precision Tune Auto Care in Edina are cutting down on filling up the loaner cars. Instead, it’s offering loaner bicycles.

“If someone wants to run down the street, or get a cup of coffee, or something, it’s great to be able to give them a bike and they can just tool down there,” said Jay Steere, an employee.

Outside Grumpy’s Bar on Washington Avenue, a half a block is dedicated to bike parking.

“The average cyclist saves about $8,000 a year by not driving,” said Zach Schaap, who is a part of a group that promotes integrating bike riding into one’s life.

They say it builds community, enriches lives and preserves the earth.

“You don’t have to worry about parking, you don’t have to worry about maintenance, you don’t have to worry about gas, “ said Patrick Stephenson, another group member.

It also saves them lots of money.

For them, it’s a sign of things to come: They hope rising gas prices forces more people to take their bicycles out and pedal instead of paying so much at the pump.

Buses as well as light rail have also seen a steady increase in passengers. Additionally, car-pooling has become more popular.

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