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Economist Kelly Cunningham of the National University System Institute for Policy Research says that the recent gasoline price increases (assuming the price stays at $4.37 a gallon) will dent the San Diego economy by 0.3% this year. Local households will spend 6.2% of their incomes on gasoline this year, up from 4.3% in 2010 and 5.3% last year. Families will spend $463 more on gas this year than last year, says Cunningham, and that will take 0.3% out of local economic growth. "A tipping point for recession may have already been breached," says Cunningham. But the effects will come with a lag. "It will take a few months for higher energy prices to really begin to put a drag on the economy," he says.

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