Holiday travel impacted by high gas prices

Published 1:34 pm Monday, May 28, 2018

As Memorial Day travel wraps up, AAA is making the public aware that families could pay more at the gas pump compared to previous years.

AAA recently announced that families will pay roughly $200 more compared to 2017 for summer travel due to the increased price of crude oil. According to AAA, crude oil is $20 more than a year ago, which has raised the cost of gasoline. Due to the oil price spike, AAA recorded a 2018-high of $71.49 last week for oil, the highest recorded since 2014.

While Tennesseans have experienced a hit at the pump, prices are significantly lower compared to the national average. Tennessee and Georgia average were roughly near the $2.70 plateau while the national average was locked in at $2.92.

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Due to the amount of travel during this time of the year, with citizens using it as an opportunity to get a little vacation in, pre- and post-travel is expected to continued increased prices. Even with the increase, AAA anticipates significant travel throughout the week. AAA issued a statement prior to the Memorial Day weekend travel to warn drivers.

“Current fundamentals will likely lead gas prices higher before the Memorial Day weekend,” Mark Jenkins, AAA – The Auto Club Group spokesperson, said in a statement issued to the Elizabethton Star prior to Monday. “Regardless of higher prices at the pump, AAA still forecasts the most holiday road trippers in more than a dozen years. Those will smaller gasoline budgets will find other ways to finance their travel plans, like cutting back on discretionary expenses like shopping or dining out.”

Prior to the Elizabethton Star press deadline, the area average in the city for gas prices was $2.57, according to AAA price finder app. The highest price for gas reported was $2.65 while the cheapest was pegged near $2.50

Volatility during the spring and summer months is nothing out of the ordinary, according to Stephanie Milani with AAA. In a March interview with the Elizabethton Star, Milani indicated the organization anticipates that type of action with gas prices due to a variety of factors this time of the year, including high gasoline exports.

Even though higher gas prices are hard to gauge, AAA is encouraging the public to be ready, just incase.

“Because of the tightening (oil) supply market, OPIS believes oil prices could reach as high as $90 per barrel before the end of the year. While that high is not guaranteed, gas prices would be 50 cents higher, if it happened,” AAA said in a press release issued May 21.

Milani seconded the sentiment.

“Prices across the country averaged 50-60 cents more this Memorial Day holiday than last year,” she said Monday. “The future of gas prices remains heavily influenced by oil prices. Oil prices have been above $70 per barrel for a few weeks now; drivers will likely not see relief at the pump until those oil prices recede. Global demand is keeping pressure on those oil prices.”