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Airlines hike fares, gas prices hit $4 per gallon

Five airlines, led by American, unleashed the 17th fare hike of the year this weekend. On Friday, June 6, American announced a $20 increase on a third of its routes, then extended the hike to all of its flights. United, Delta, Continental, and US Airways matched at least part of American's increase over the weekend, leaving Northwest as the lone legacy carrier holding out. Air Canada and Midwest also joined in. This will be the 13th successful fare hike of the year if it sticks.

Compounding this news, the national average gasoline price cracked $4 a gallon this weekend, according to AAA. $4 a gallon! That's an increase of almost a full dollar per gallon since January.

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If you're curious about the multiple factors influencing the price of gas and jet fuel, BBC News has a good roundup of news and analysis, including some attempts to clear up the fuzzy (at best) factors that cause oil prices to go up.

So what's an aspiring traveler to do? I know I'll be staying home, or close to it. Leave a comment below and let us know what your plans are.

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