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The average price of gas in Los Angeles is now $3.876 per gallon, which means it costs just over $58.00 to fill a 15 gallon tank. A household that fills up one car twice a week will be spending almost $3,000 a year on gasoline.

The US Department of Commerce reported that we spent a shocking $8 billion more on gasoline in April of this year than we did a year ago at the same time. The rising cost of gasoline is pushing many Los Angeles families to the brink of bankruptcy. Households who are desperate to make ends meet are scrambling to find ways to cut expenses.

The pinch isn’t just felt at the pump. Many households are finding their budgets strained elsewhere as the cost of gas is also driving inflation, affecting everything from the price shoppers pay for food at the grocery store to airfares. Additionally, anything with plastic costs more simply because it is made with petroleum, the base component of gasoline.

According to a recent survey of economists by CNN Money, the rising price of oil presents a grave threat to our economy. As gas prices rise, consumers have less money available to spend on ‘luxury’ or ‘convenience’ items, lowering demand for those products as well as profits for those businesses. Lower profits mean less money available to pay employees. It is no wonder that families across the country are considering bankruptcy options.

Getting by With Less

Traditionally, gasoline has been a commodity Americans thought they couldn’t do without. While they may not be free of their dependency on gasoline, they are beginning to creative and finding ways to get by with less of it.

One of the ways Americans are cutting back on gas expense is with the vehicles they drive, taking advantage of more efficient models or switching to motorcycles. The Motorcycle Industry Council reported a 7 percent increase in the sales of motorcycles and scooters in the first quarter of 2011.

Carpooling is another way to save on gas and of, course, money. In late April, the California Department of Transportation broke ground on the first stage of a massive project to build carpool lanes in both directions along the I-5 corridor. According to a quote from Michael Miles in the Burbank Reader, people who commute over 25 miles a day will save an estimated 2 hours a week in commuting time. Time saved community means money is saved on gas because your car is not running.

Consider shopping at your local farmers market to save money. It costs far less for food to be brought in from a local farm than to be shipped across the country. Local food is fresher, less expensive and better for you.

When Cutting Costs Are Not Enough Bankruptcy May Be a Better Solution

Many families are slow to recognize when their budgets have been extended too far. Credit card use to help in the short term and in anticipation an economic turnaround that for too many hasn’t come quickly buries many households under unmanageable debt. If you are finding yourself stuck in a cycle of shuffling credit cards to make ends meet each month or are feeling overwhelmed by mounting debt, filing bankruptcy may be a great option. An experienced local bankruptcy attorney can review your choices with you.

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