PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Editor's note: The above video is from March 5 and addresses political implications surrounding gas prices.
The tech company and gas station finder app, GasBuddy, predicts that gas prices will be the highest they've been in seven years, and many may be wondering how this affects their summer travel plans.
The CDC announced last week that fully vaccinated Americans may stop wearing masks and social distancing in outdoor settings, as well as most indoor settings. For many, this might signal the okay to travel again, and Memorial Day is right around the corner, a day typically filled with beaches, sun, and friends.
GasBuddy, however, said they are "conflicted about summer travel this year," due to possible high gas prices, according to their annual summer travel survey.
The survey says that the national average price of gasoline is expected to be $2.98 per gallon on Memorial Day—a slight drop from current prices but a $1.02 increase over the holiday last year. This will also be the highest gas prices have been on Memorial Day since 2014. That year, the average price of gas was $3.66 per gallon.
In Pennsylvania, the current price for a regular tank of gas is $3.16 per gallon, a full dollar more than the average a year ago, similar to the nationwide average noted above. In York County specifically, the price is $3.15 per gallon, an almost 40% increase from how much it was a year ago, according to AAA.
Still, the numbers are clear. According to GasBuddy, 57% of Americans plan to take at least one road trip this summer. People want life to go back to normal. Gas prices are impacting the travel plans of 46% of those people, however.
“Gas prices have been increasing for months due to the continued rise in gasoline demand as a myriad of destinations reopen ahead of the summer driving season," he said. "The Colonial Pipeline shutdown only highlighted how much more reliant consumers have become on gasoline since the pandemic hit." Many travelers have made an effort to avoid air travel to reduce the spread of COVID-19, after all.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said that travelers don't need to worry too much, however. Prices of gasoline are easing up and travel should be possible and affordable for Memorial Day weekend, but Haan said that "prices may rebound as we approach midsummer, should gasoline demand rise to near-record levels.”