Gasoline prices in Iowa are down nearly $1.50 a gallon from a year ago and that’s expected to bring a boost in summer vacations. Summer won’t officially arrive until June 21st, but Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says the holiday at the end of this month will launch of the summer driving season.
"Vacation travel will be up 1.5% this Memorial holiday weekend with approximately 32.4 million travelers taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home," White says. "Last year’s soaring gas prices and a deteriorating economy impacted holiday travel but this year, lower gasoline prices and plentiful travel bargains have Americans feeling better about taking a trip this summer."
Gasoline prices in Iowa are averaging $2.22 a gallon now, compared to $3.70 a year ago. White says that has families planning now for their trips during the upcoming warm weather months. "What we’re expecting, not only for the Memorial Day travel but even for this summer, is an increase in travel and the reason for that is the summer fuel prices aren’t nearly as high," White says.
"If we look back to last year, we paid record prices for fuel. In addition, weather conditions last summer were terrible for some travelers." The motor club projects most travelers (83%) during the Memorial Day weekend will be driving to their destinations. Gas prices have spiked in Iowa and across the region recently, but White doesn’t think the pump prices will go much higher.
"Just over the last month, we’ve seen big jumps in gasoline prices," White says. "In Iowa, they’re up about 21-cents (per gallon). Although we have seen a substantial increase, they do appear to be tapering off. We do not expect them to climb to the record highs that we had seen last year." She expects gas prices to top off this summer around $2.35 a gallon.
Last year, Iowa gas prices peaked at an all-time record high of $4.02 a gallon during July.