Gas prices inch up as people take to the road for the 4th of July holiday

Gas Prices and July 4th Travel
Man gets gas for his suv.
Man gets gas for his suv. (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Despite the pandemic demand for gasoline is increasing and so are prices at the pump.

For many people life goes on and they are venturing out and to the roadways.

“I primarily drive from New Orleans to Jacksonville every couple of months,” said Kevin Stith as he filled up his pickup truck.

He appreciated the gas prices in New Orleans compared to some other places he gets to in his vehicle.

“Here in New Orleans the gas prices are a lot more affordable and reasonable than other states even Florida or Texas,” Stith added.

Ernest Morrison filled up his SUV and paused to comment on the importance of gas prices to him given his vehicle’s 30-gallon tank.

“I just had to take a road trip to Mobile for a funeral yesterday, so it really mattered. So, I went on a full tank and I’m about to fill up again,” said Morrison.

A spokesman for AAA said gas prices are inching up.

“We’re only up a couple of cents from where we were last week but still about 20 cents more expensive than we were a month ago,” said Don Redman, AAA Public Affairs Specialist in Louisiana.

Still, he said gas prices are not expected to soar in the near future.

“We’re expecting them to stay under $2 a gallon for the remainder of the summer,” Redman stated.

Morrrison said filling up his SUV cost almost $80 dollars at the current prices.

As he completed the task of fueling his vehicle, Morrison said, “$77.85.”

He would not mind a drop in gasoline prices.

“When it’s time for me to hit the road, I’d like them a little bit lower,” said Morrison.

But how do gas prices for this July 4th weekend stack up to the same time last year?

“When you compare to as we head into the Fourth of July last year we’re about 50 cents a gallon cheaper, so we’re definitely in better shape now than we were a year ago, in terms of price of gasoline,” said Redman.

Ammirah Holloway stopped to get gasoline for her vehicle after arriving in New Orleans from a northeastern state.

“This is my first time actually gassing up here,” said Holloway.

She said she flew to the city and had her vehicle shipped to New Orleans.

“Under $2 sounds fine with me because we’re already over $2 in [New] Jersey. It was almost $2.50 when I was about to leave, so when we see prices that are lower than $2, I’m totally fine with that,” said Holloway.

Still, nationwide summer trips are expected to be down.

“We’re forecasting for the summer travel which would be July, August, September would be about 700 million trips made throughout this summer which is a decrease of about 15 percent compared to previous years,” said Redman. “In fact, we’re talking about 150 million fewer trips than we normally would have forecasted for 2020, other than the fact that we’re now facing this COVID-19 pandemic as well as a slowing down in the economy.”

Air travel continues to suffer.

“We look in our region, looking at air travel off about 77 percent than the previous year and cruises almost 87 percent, so the vast majority who are going to travel this summer are going to travel this summer are going to travel by car,” said Redman.

Hunter King said he and his wife are contemplating a road trip to the Midwest.

“Oh, I’d certainly take a car, I still don’t trust airlines, ah yeah,” he said.

And Redman said those planning to hit the road should prepare for the journey and what could happen along the way.

“Make sure you have some cool water with you because in case something does happen to your vehicle it may take up to an hour for someone to help you and it’s summertime and so it’s going to be pretty hot waiting for some help,” said Redman.

He said prior planning is also critical.

“You got to know what hotel you’re staying in, if it’s open, make sure you have masks with you, wipes, hand sanitizer,” added Redman.

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