Driving the Kansas Turnpike just got more expensive. Tolls went up Friday. And, on top of that, gas prices are up too!
It started at midnight. A 10% hike in what it costs to travel along the Kansas Turnpike, if you're paying cash, 5% for a K-Tag. The Turnpike Authority calls it a regular, modest rate increase that happens about every three years.
"Everything's going up," said Denna Rice, who'd stopped at the Towanda Service Area near El Dorado for gas.
The money from the hike is slated to pay for roadwork, like deck replacements on bridges.
"You've got to pay your taxes, make the roads better," said Michell Westendorf, who was headed to Manhattan.
The extra cost will hit those who use the turnpike regularly the hardest. Rice knows what that's like. Her husband used to travel from El Dorado to Wichita daily.
"And, now he finally got a job in El Dorado at the refinery," she said. "It saved us, actually, a lot of money. I've really noticed the difference, that way."
While it is possible to go out of your way and avoid the turnpike, one thing most of us can't avoid is fueling up our cars. Which means, in order to pay for it, we've got to find other things to avoid.
"I mean I've got to have gas to get back and forth to Wichita," said Lovell Jackson, who was going to visit his mother.
The annual spring increase in gas prices started early this year. CBS News is reporting the national average has gone up 13 cents. Kansans have seen an even higher increase.
"I wish they'd go back down," said Westendorf. "About three weeks ago I paid $2.86 a gallon and this $3 something a gallon is killing me."
Some experts say gas prices could go up another 50 cents before they stop rising this year.
"I guess I'll be walking." laughed Westendorf.
"Well, I won't be going on vacation," agreed Jackson, laughing.
Kansans aren't letting that slow them down, yet.
"It'll get better. It's got to get better. It can't get worse!," said Jackson.
Earlier this year AAA said gas prices wouldn't get as high in 2013 as they did last year. But they're already higher than this time last year in Kansas, when gas sold for $3.22 a gallon.
On February 1st, the Kansas average stands at $3.37 a gallon, up almost 20 cents from one week ago, when gas sold for $3.18. It's significantly up from one month ago, when gas was at $3.06.
Oil industry analysts say low inventories, rising crude oil prices and needed maintenance at refineries are causing this price hike.