The 4th of July weekend shaping up to be the busiest travel period since before the pandemic, with 43 million Americans expected to hit the road with lots of traffic, higher gas prices, and possible fuel shortages along the way.
Gas stations across the country are facing fuel shortages, driving prices to a seven-year high as more than 40 million Americans prepare to hit the road for the Fourth of July weekend.
The nationwide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit $3.09 on Monday, the highest price Americans have been asked to shell out ahead of the holiday weekend since 2014, according to data from the American Automobile Association.
AAA forecasts that 43.6 million Americans will travel by car this weekend — the most so far this year.
“Today, 89 percent of US gas stations are selling regular unleaded for $2.75 or more. That is a stark increase over last July 4 when only a quarter of stations were selling gas for more than $2.25,” said Jeanette McGee, a AAA spokesperson. “Road trippers will pay the most to fill up for the holiday since 2014.”
“It just proves that the road is back and stronger than ever,” Jeanette McGee added.
Gas prices are averaging $3.13 in New Jersey, a big leap for some visitors from out of town hitting up the Jersey Shore.
“They are even worse here than they are in Atlanta,” said Gary Flacks, from Georgia. “I much prefer them a year or two ago.”
Still, others aren’t deterred. Some are making the argument: what choice is there?
“I can’t complain,” said Lorri Manfaa, from Hatboro, Pennsylvania. “We’re a little bit ahead of COVID, so it’s what you got to do.”
AAA said gas prices will increase by as much as 5 cents as we approach the Fourth of July holiday.
“It used to be an afterthought for station owners to schedule truck deliveries. Now it’s job No. 1,” Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA, told CNN.
“What I’m worried about for July is the increased demand works out to about 2,500 to 3,000 more deliveries needed every day. There just aren’t the drivers to do that.”
For consumers, higher gasoline prices are one element of an inflationary mix they’ve encountered as the economy recovers from the pandemic. Rising prices for commodities and materials have also boosted prices for such items as lumber, diapers, and meat and poultry.
The Federal Reserve is expecting many of these increases to be temporary. In an appearance before a House subcommittee last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell cited “the pass-through of past increases in oil prices to consumer energy prices” as one factor behind the increase in inflation.
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