Putting gas in the tank or eating out?

FRESNO, Calif.

The high gas prices are forcing many people to think twice about spending their hard earned cash on dining out.

Several customers at a gas station in North Fresno say the rise in gases prices has forced them to shell out more money so that they can fill up their tanks.

"It's ridiculous. I'm just ready to start walking everywhere." said one woman.

An exclusive Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA asked 500 people in the Valley if higher gas prices have caused them to cut back on household spending. A whopping 75% said yes. While 21% said no.

"You're spending money on gas that you would be spending on other things. So yeah you have to, you only have so much disposable income so." said Teri Porter of Fresno.

Another exclusive Action News poll shows 69% of Valley residents are eating out less than before. While 22% said they're eating out the same. Only 7% say they're eating out more often.

"We expect that we will probably see a decrease in the number of guests that will return frequently. They will still come, but they will decrease their frequency of going out to dine." Lorraine Salazar of Sal's Mexican Restaurant.

Lorraine Salazar owns Sal's Mexican restaurants in Madera, Selma and Fresno. She's also a member of the California Restaurant Association and says independent business owners in the Valley may have no choice but to raise their prices if gas prices continue to climb.

"And if an operator is already running very thin, this could be something that could just put them over the edge. And they may not be in business." said Salazar.

Higher menu prices may keep some people from heading to the restaurant or fast food chain. But it's not enough to keep everyone away.

"You still gotta get out sometime you know. Cabin fever. It'll make you sweat for something to eat out." said Gary Miles of Fresno.

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