Gas prices are adding more blues to the upcoming red, white and blue holiday. Just like during the Memorial Day weekend, Triple-A-Iowa is predicting a drop in travel for the approaching three-day Independence Day weekend. Rose White, spokeswoman for the motor club, says $4 gasoline is the culprit.
White says: “For the first time this decade, Triple-A estimates a decline in the number of Americans traveling during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Triple-A projects 40-point-four million Americans will travel during the long holiday weekend, down about 1.3% from last year. This is the second consecutive travel holiday in 2008 where a year-to-year decrease was forecasted.”
Gasoline prices are already well over $4 a gallon nationwide and White says Iowa’s very close. She says self-serve unleaded is averaging $3.92 a gallon in Iowa, up five-cents a gallon from last month and up almost a dollar from a year ago.
Diesel prices are averaging $4.62 a gallon, about eight-cents shy of its all-time high. Crude oil prices have hit new record highs this week, in the neighborhood of $140 a barrel, so White predicts gas prices in Iowa will continue to rise before the 4th of July arrives.
“Normally, if you see a decline in fuel usage, you can expect to see a decline in pump prices as well, but unfortunately, crude oil continues to reach all new record highs, so with these additional increases that we’ve seen in the commodities market, we can expect to pay higher prices within the next week or two,” White says.
On the plus side, with high fuel costs hitting family vacation budgets, the travel industry is responding by offering a variety of discounts, promotions and other incentives to get people traveling his holiday. White says Iowans should look for free gas card offerings, free breakfast promotions, kids-eat-free deals and car rental discounts.