A May 27 KidsPost article on gasoline prices misstated the increased cost of driving from Washington to the Outer Banks this summer. Assuming 20 miles per gallon and $2 a gallon, the cost of the round trip would be $15 more than last year. (Published 6/23/04)

Gas is as expensive now as at any other time in your life. But why should you care? You don't pay to fill up the minivan, right?

Well, higher gasoline prices mean higher prices for other things, too, and if your folks are spending more on gas, they may have less to spend on other, FUN stuff. Tracy Grant offers a KidsPost look at how $2-a-gallon gas might affect you.

Gas is taking more

of your family's money.

Say it takes 15 gallons to fill the tank of your family's car or van each week. Last summer, when gas was about $1.50 a gallon, your mom or dad would have spent $22.50 a week to fill up. Now, with gas at $2 a gallon, they are spending $30 a week for the same amount of gas. So what does your family not buy because it's costing an extra $7.50 a week (or $30 a month) to fill the tank? Hmmm. That GameBoy game you've been asking for costs $29.99.

Vacation is going

to cost more.

If you drive a total of 600 miles for your Outer Banks vacation, it's going to cost $60 more this summer than last year. That money would have paid for four passes to a water park.

But you say you're flying to California this summer, so you won't be affected by high gas prices. Well, planes use even more fuel than cars do. So airlines might start charging more for those tickets because it's costing them more to fly you to California.

Food and other things

are going to cost more.

Okay, now you think we're being ridiculous. How could the price of gasoline affect the price of ice cream, lettuce and peaches? Here's how: The companies that truck food to our grocery stores are paying more for gas, too. They might ask the stores to pay more to cover the increased cost. And if the stores are paying more, they probably will charge customers more as well.

Already, companies that deliver things are raising prices: Some florists, for instance, are charging more to deliver flowers to moms for their birthdays.

Even fertilizer, which we use to grow our food, now costs more. Much fertilizer is made from natural gas, and its price goes up when oil prices go up.

The bright side of

$2-a-gallon gas.

It's hard to think that there is anything good about spending more for gas. But the higher prices might cause people to drive less and take public transportation, helping to reduce pollution. People might walk places instead, getting extra exercise as well as saving money. They might buy cars that go farther on less gas. For example, the new gas-electric hybrid cars can go about 40 miles on a gallon of gasoline -- twice as far as an SUV will go on the same amount of gas . . . and money.