MINNEAPOLIS — As the summer travel season approaches, gas prices are rapidly rising again, and predictions say they could end up in record territory.
On March 11, the highest average price for a gallon of regular gas ever recorded in the U.S. was $4.33.
Now, AAA is reporting the national average is back at $4.33, while In Minnesota, it's $4.02. Analysts predict gas prices could hit a new record high. Online app GasBuddy reported Monday that the price per gallon increased 14.4 cents per gallon just in the last week, 18.4 cents higher than a month ago and a whopping $1.31 per gallon more than the same time last year.
In Wisconsin drivers are paying an average of $4.11 per gallon.
After COVID-19 dominated last summer and the holidays, millions of Americans were anxiously anticipating a somewhat typical summer travel season. But with rising gas prices and inflation, some travelers are rethinking plans with options that including ditching long road trips.
Many states and cities rely on the summer travel surge to pump cash into their economies, so there has been some movement to decrease gas prices. Lawmakers in Minnesota have proposed suspending the state's gas tax through the summer months to keep travel and tourism more viable.
"One thing we can do is a gas tax holiday. Suspend the gas tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day, when gas prices are typically at their highest," Rep. Zack Stephenson of Coon Rapids.
This change would require approval by the legislature and Gov. Walz, as it would impact the fund used to repair Minnesota's roads and bridges.
Will rising gas prices even impact how much Americans travel this summer? A survey conducted by AAA in March found that it probably won't.
Of the 52% of Americans planning to take a vacation this summer, 42% said they wouldn't consider changing their travel plans regardless of the price.
But there has to be a limit, right? A gas expert weighs in.
"I think in California that shock and awe happens at $6 a gallon. And I think for the rest of the country, a lot of consumers are probably saying $5 a gallon," said Patrick De Haan with GasBuddy. "Given the fact that the economy is seeing some strength coming out of COVID, I think consumers have a little bit more appetite to hit the road, that is $4 may slow them down, but I think it's the $5 mark, where there's a real sticking point."
Experts say as long as the war in Ukraine continues and crude oil prices increase, there will still be high prices at the pump.
Many experts say a solution to this price hike isn't to switch over to electric vehicles or other green alternatives. Finding fuel rewards programs or using apps to keep track of the best gas prices in your area is a more practical short-term option.
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