NASCAR Fans Feel Fuel Pinch
For NASCAR lovers from far-off places, the distance to get to sites such as Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and gasoline pushing $3.80 a gallon have made this year's trip to the races costlier than ever, according to the Salisbury (N.C.) Post.
At the RV parks that surround the racetracks, fans are feeling the pinch.
"They all use lots of gas," John Chandler said, motioning to the hundreds of RV's parked around him gathered already for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
The average cost of a gallon of gas in North Carolina on Wednesday (May 21) was $3.78. That's up 29 cents from one month ago and 64 cents from one year ago. Gas costs are expected to top $4 a gallon any day now.
"People used to make house payments with what you pay for fuel now," said Nancy Dreyer, a Mebane, N.C., resident who's been coming to the speedway for seven years.
Dreyer is camped out at an RV park near the speedway with friends who travel from across the country to the race.
Chandler, one of those friends, drove from south Florida and got 8 mpg hauling his camper. But Chandler won't stop coming to the races. The trip is a chance for him to catch up with friends he's made throughout the years.
One of those friends, Mike Myers, hails from Attica, N.Y. Last year Myers spent about $600 on fuel, and this year he expects to spend a couple hundred more.
"We'd like to think that we could keep doing it, but something's gotta happen with the gas," Myers said.
For some fans, the gas prices were enough to keep them home.
Don Johnson drove from Camden, N.J., with three of his friends, but the cost of gas kept one friend behind. And those still making the trip are cutting corners elsewhere.
"What you end up spending in gas you have to save elsewhere," Myers said.
Dreyer's paying about $4.50 for diesel for her RV, she said, and gas costs have cut down the number of races she and her husband attend each year.
They went to the race track in Las Vegas for four years, but stopped when gas prices started rising.
And Dreyer said the two downsized RVs to conserve.
"We sold it and went to something with a little better fuel economy," Dreyer said. "We just wanted a little more fuel efficiency."
Still, these NASCAR fans only plan to tighten their belts so far.
"You gotta go where you gotta go," said Camden resident Michael McCarthy.