Gas prices are up — up — but that won’t deter excited travelers from kicking off their summer this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.
Amid record average gasoline prices on Tuesday, the AAA’s Memorial Day Travel Forecast predicted that 39 million people would travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend.
AAA on Tuesday announced the national average for regular unleaded gasoline at $4.523 per gallon and the Ohio average at $4.358 per gallon — the two highest average prices on record, according to the online pricing portal. essence of AAA.
Still, AAA predicts that 34.9 million people will travel by car, 30.1 million by plane and 1.33 million by other means between May 26 and May 30.
Without meeting the 42.8 million people who traveled during the pre-pandemic Memorial Day weekend in 2019, this year is expected to see 3 million more people travel than last year.
This represents an 8.3% increase in total travel since 2021.
Although gas prices remain above $4 a gallon, car trips are expected to increase by 4.6% compared to last year. Air travel, recovering from the pandemic, is expected to increase by around 25%.
About a dozen local motorists at two area gas stations on Tuesday, however, overwhelmingly said “Nope,” they’re not going anywhere this upcoming holiday weekend.
“I can’t afford it. I am going to stay at home “ Bill Sparks of Mineral Ridge said. Sparks said he sometimes travels to visit his in-laws in Kentucky — about a six-hour drive away — but he doesn’t this Memorial Day.
At the Country Fair gas station on North Canfield-Niles Road on Tuesday, Sparks put two gallons in a can of gas for a car he’s working on and his lawnmower – and it cost him around $9.
Of Country Fair’s customers, about as many filled lawn mower gas cans as put gas in their vehicles. Most went inside to prepay a set amount that wouldn’t fill their tank or gas can, but would keep them going for a while. A Salem man only put $6 worth of gas in his van, adding: “That’s all I can afford.”
None planned to travel for the holidays, although Austintown’s Chris Thorndike said his daughter was from Boston.
“So there are journeys that happen,” said Thorndike.
Regular gasoline at Country Fair and nearby Sheetz and Pilot gas stations, all located just off the Interstate 80, 680 and Route 11 interchange, was $4.49 a gallon.
At the Valley View Food Mart gas station on Elm Road NE in Warren, gas was 10 cents cheaper at $4.39. There, Warren’s Chuckie Love put $60 in his vehicle and still hasn’t filled the tank.
Brian Geddes, a Warren resident and truck driver by trade, spent over $92 filling up his personal van, which still had gas in the tank.
“It hurts,” said Geddes. He added that it’s not just $92, it’s the time he worked to get that money. “That’s four hours of my life I just put in my gas tank.”
Although slightly lower than the national average and the Ohio average, regular gasoline prices in the Youngstown-Warren area came in at $4.354 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA. It is also the highest average price recorded for the region.
This average price was up from $4.291 on Monday, $4.173 last week, $3.779 last month and $2.870 last year.
Diesel in the Youngstown-Warren area averaged $5,283 a gallon on Tuesday, slightly below Monday’s high average of $5,290, according to AAA data.
The lowest average gas price for an Ohio county on Tuesday was $4.252 per gallon in Meigs County in southeastern Ohio. The highest county average was $4.474 per gallon in Morgan County, also in the southeast part of the state.