Temperatures are rising and gasoline prices are falling, a welcome combination for Iowans who are planning Memorial Day weekend getaways. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says the motor club is predicting about 35-million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles away from home over the upcoming holiday.
“That’s about a one-and-a-half percent increase over last year,” Weinholzer says. “Certainly, the downward pressure on fuel prices in April has done a lot to encourage people to travel after a rather wicked February and March that we had as far as gas prices.”
She says there’s a direct correlation between the drop in fuel costs and the expected rise in travel. Earlier this year, analysts predicted gas would hit $4.00 a gallon in the Midwest, perhaps a buck higher on the coasts.
“But mercifully, in April, we saw a reduction in 23 out of the 30 days in gas prices and that’s gone a long ways in helping people plan their Memorial Day travel,” Weinholzer says. “Unless there’s some sort of significant political or environmental impact, it should remain that way through the summer.”
The average price of gas has fallen in recent weeks in Iowa and Weinholzer was asked if it would keep falling. “I don’t know if we’ll continue to see it drop, certainly we’ll see a stabilization at the very least,” she says.
“When we were looking at crude oil prices in March being $108 a barrel, that was pretty steep. They’re down now to about $94 a barrel.”
The current average gas price in Iowa is $3.47 a gallon, down from $3.85 a year ago. The current U.S. average is $3.68.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City