Gas prices up for holiday travel

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Your bags are packed, your reservations made. Now there’s just one more item to be checked off your holiday travel to-do list: Set aside a little extra cash for gasoline.

Gas prices are up across the country as Americans prepare to hit the road for the Independence Day holiday.

The average price for regular unleaded nationwide is $2.71 — up 5 cents from the week before.

The price hike may not deter many travelers. AAA predicts a record 48.9 million Americans will travel during this week’s holiday. And GasBuddy expects a big summer travel season.

“Gas prices remain well under $3,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis. “That’s sort of the key metric that people gauge. Do gas prices start with a 2, 3 or 4?”

A recent GasBuddy survey found nearly 75 percent of Americans said they will take a road trip this summer — up 16 percentage points from last year.

Respondents also expected to travel farther from home and spend more time away. Some 42 percent of respondents planned to drive more than 500 miles roundtrip, and 7 percent expected to be gone more than a week.

DeHaan said travel likely is picking up because of a strong economy and wage gains. And despite the recent spike, gas prices remain lower than in recent summers — 16 cents lower than last year, according to AAA.

At $2.54 a gallon, it will cost $38.10 to fill a 15-gallon tank.

“Even if gas prices were a little bit higher, I’m not sure that people would slow down,” DeHaan said.

AAA says several factors contributed to this week’s gas price increase. Rising tensions between the United States and Iran, a fire at a Philadelphia refinery and optimism over the possibility of a U.S.-China trade deal all played a role.

“A major factor driving the increase includes the upcoming Independence Day holiday, which is expected to be a high-demand travel period,” AAA spokeswoman Montrae Waiters said. An estimated 41.1 million Americans will travel by car over the holiday.

New York Times

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