clearn.png
Thursday August 11th, 2022 4:37AM

More Memorial Day travel expected, despite high gas prices

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — To drive, or not to drive? This Memorial Day weekend, with surging gas prices that are redefining pain at the pump, that is the question for many Americans as a new COVID-19 surge also spreads across the country.

For Marvin Harper, of Phoenix, his family’s weekend travel plans are a double punch to the wallet. His college-age son and daughter each have a soccer tournament in Southern California and Colorado, respectively. He and his daughter will fly to Denver, rather than drive, because of the cost of fuel, while his wife and son will go to California in her SUV.

“My mother-in-law’s going with my wife and son to split that cost because it’s just too much on our household,” said Harper, as he filled up the tank of his truck at a Phoenix QuikTrip. “We can’t afford both of us to drive. That’s the bottom line ... Gas prices are killing our household.”

For some, that's exactly what's caused them to rethink their holiday plans, making them opt for a staycation in their backyard to limit the damage to their wallets.

Laura Dena and her sons would typically go to Southern California around Memorial Day weekend to escape Arizona’s scorching heat. This year, because it takes at least $100 to fill up her truck, they’re staying home.

“It’s really frustrating," said Dena while waiting in line in 90-degree heat for a pump at a Costco in Phoenix. "It’s upsetting, but there’s not much we can do. We have to pay the price.”

The average gas price in the U.S. on Thursday was $4.60 per gallon, according to AAA figures. In California, it topped $6. The high price of oil — largely because many buyers are refusing to purchase Russian oil because of its invasion of Ukraine — is the main cause of the steep gasoline prices.

Americans aren’t the only ones weighing their options as the summer travel season begins. Across the European Union’s 27 countries, gasoline has risen 40% from a year ago, to the equivalent of $8.40 a gallon.

Rising prices in the U.S. coincide with a COVID-19 surge that has led to case counts that are as high as they’ve been since mid-February, and those figures are likely a major undercount because of unreported positive home test results and asymptomatic infections.

Still, 2 1/2 years of pandemic life has many people hitting the road or taking to the skies, despite the surge. AAA estimates that 39.2 million people in the U.S. will travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more from home during the holiday weekend.

Those projections —- which include travel by car, plane and other modes of transportation like trains or cruise ships — are up 8.3% from 2021 and would bring Memorial Day travel volumes close to 2017 levels. The estimates are still below pre-pandemic 2019 levels, a peak year for travel.

About 88% of those 39.2 million travelers — a record number — are expected to go by car over the long weekend even as gas prices remain high, according to AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross.

In California — despite being home to the nation's highest gas prices — the state's nonprofit tourism agency also predicts a busy summer for the Golden State, beginning this weekend.

Ryan Becker, Visit California’s spokesperson, said his agency is seeing a lot of “pent-up demand” because of the pandemic: “I want to get out, I want to travel. I’ve had to put my anniversary trip on hold, I’ve had to put my 40th birthday trip on hold.”

Outdoorsy, an online rental marketplace for RVs and camper vans, is noticing that its renters have changed their plans over the course of the pandemic. Early on, people would rent an RV to travel cross-country safely to visit family. Now, they're back to using the RVs as a cost-effective way for a vacation tethered to nature.

“I think everyone needs a vacation, I really do," Outdoorsy co-founder Jen Young said. “Have we ever lived through a more stressful, challenging — mentally and physically and spiritually — time in our lives?”

Others shrug off the stress of the added travel costs because it's out of their control. At a Chevron station in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, Ricardo Estrada tried to guess how much the $6.49 a gallon price would run him in total for his Nissan work van.

“I’ll go with between 60 and 70 bucks,” the heating and air-conditioning technician speculated, eyeing the display as the price went up and up.

Estrada — just missing his guess when the pump registered $71.61 for 11 gallons of regular grade — has been forced to raise his business fees for customers to overcome the gas prices. He'll be working over the holiday weekend but has a vacation planned in Arizona next month.

He’s flying, but only because of convenience, not cost.

But with airline tickets prices up, too — AAA found that the average lowest airfare for this weekend is 6% higher than last year — that's not a sure bet, either.

___

Tang reported from Phoenix. Associated Press video journalist Terry Chea in San Francisco contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities, AP Business - Personal Finance
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Police face questions over response to Texas school shooting
Law enforcement authorities in Texas are facing questions and criticism over how much time elapsed before they stormed an Uvalde elementary school classroom and put a stop to the rampage by a gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers
2:08PM ( 7 minutes ago )
More Memorial Day travel expected, despite high gas prices
Pandemic-weary U.S. residents are confronting high gas prices as they decide whether to travel this Memorial Day weekend
2:04PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Blinken: US to leverage Russia-Ukraine bloc against China
Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Biden administration is aiming to lead the international bloc opposed to Russia's invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to counter what it sees as a more serious, long-term threat to global order from China
2:01PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump loses appeal, must testify in New York civil probe
A New York appeals court has ruled former President Donald Trump must answer questions under oath in the state’s civil investigation into his business practices
1:42PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Palestinians: Israel deliberately killed Al Jazeera reporter
The Palestinian Authority says its investigation into the shooting death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh proves that she was deliberately killed by Israeli forces
1:35PM ( 40 minutes ago )
A look at Queen Elizabeth II's style through the decades
Queen Elizabeth II just might have the hardest working wardrobe on the planet
1:19PM ( 56 minutes ago )
AP National News
Davos ends with Germany pushing global work on climate, war
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed hopes for global cooperation on climate change, hunger and war as dozens of climate activists demonstrated in the Swiss town of Davos
12:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
Average long-term mortgage rates fall; 30-year loan at 5.1%
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for the second week in a row, though interest rates on the key 30-year home loan remain at decade-high levels
12:32PM ( 1 hour ago )
Explosion at Spanish plant leaves 2 dead; 250 kids evacuated
Police in Spain say an explosion at a biodiesel plant has left two people dead and forced 250 children to be evacuated from the area
12:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Live updates | Separatist: More Ukraine fighters at Azovstal
The head of the Russia-backed separatist region in eastern Ukraine says that there may be more Ukrainian fighters hiding at the sprawling Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, even after Moscow officially declared the operation of taking control over it successful and completed
10:59AM ( 3 hours ago )
UK touts help for energy bills; seeks to forget 'partygate'
Britain's Conservative government has unveiled a $19 billion package to ease a severe cost-of-living squeeze
10:57AM ( 3 hours ago )
Stocks open higher on gains from retailers including Macy's
Stocks are opening solidly in the green on Wall Street as investors applaud a strong set of quarterly results from Macy's and other retailers
9:50AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Davos updates | VW: Supply chain woes ease; orders backed up
Executives with German automaker Volkswagen say at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos that supply chain problems exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war are easing but they’re dealing with a huge backlog of orders
2:00PM ( 1 day ago )
Davos updates | WTO chief speaks on climate, food crisis
The head of the World Trade Organization said that leaders in developed nations will need to “have the courage” to reduce dependency on fossil fuels
1:35PM ( 1 day ago )
Davos updates | Gore calls for gun control after US shooting
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is calling for stronger gun legislation in the wake of the mass shooting in Texas that killed 21 people, mostly children
1:06PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Police face questions over response to Texas school shooting
Law enforcement authorities in Texas are facing questions and criticism over how much time elapsed before they stormed an Uvalde elementary school classroom and put a stop to the rampage by a gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers
2:08PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Blinken: US to leverage Russia-Ukraine bloc against China
Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Biden administration is aiming to lead the international bloc opposed to Russia's invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to counter what it sees as a more serious, long-term threat to global order from China
2:01PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Kevin Spacey charged in UK with 4 counts of sexual assault
British prosecutors have charged actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault against three men
1:59PM ( 17 minutes ago )
329 years later, last Salem 'witch' who wasn't is pardoned
A woman who was wrongly convicted of witchcraft in Massachusetts in 1693 and sentenced to hang has been formally exonerated
1:51PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Russia slams sanctions, seeks to blame West for food crisis
Russia is pressing the West to lift sanctions over the war in Ukraine, seeking to shift the blame for a growing food crisis
1:50PM ( 25 minutes ago )