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Rising gas prices and family road trips

May 5, 2021, 8:08 AM
(Photo: Paul Nelson)...
(Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – The price of a family vacation is expected to be much higher this summer compared to last year thanks to rising gas prices.  Analysts expect gas to cost 70 cents more per gallon this year compared to 2020, and some drivers say they’re already canceling any kind of plans they normally would have made.  

Ah, gasoline.  For travelers, it’s the necessary evil. 

Analysts say measuring this year’s gas prices against last year’s isn’t really a fair comparison, since the national average was less than two dollars per gallon by this time in 2020.  Now that prices have risen back up, drivers say they’re feeling the financial strain worse than before.

“I just feel like gas is one of those things that you have to pay, anyway.  I think gas prices are super expensive, right now,” one woman said.

Some people filling up tell KSL they’re probably still going to take some sort of road trip this summer, however, for others, these kinds of trips are out of the question.

One driver said, “Gas prices are ridiculous.  Because of that. I won’t be going on any trips.”

If you’re still wanting to hit the open road, there are some states you may want to avoid.  Sergio Avila with AAA Utah said gas runs around $4 a gallon in California already, and they expect gas prices to get higher by the end of this month.  Nevada will follow California’s trend, although it won’t be quite as expensive.  However, Avila said things are different in you look in the opposite direction.

Avila said, “In Wyoming, the average cost of gas is $2.93 a gallon.  In Colorado, it’s $2.97.  So, if you’re looking to save on gas prices, head east.”

It’s hard for them to predict what will happen in June and July, but Avila said we’re paying slightly more than what we would in a normal year.

“At the beginning of May of 2019, gas prices in Utah were at $3.04.  It looks like we’re only a little bit higher in Utah than we were back then,” he said.

Plus, if you want to plan a road trip, you should likely do it soon.  Gas prices were already expected to climb even if oil refineries don’t have problems with production. Utah Petroleum Association President Rikki Hrenko-Browning said there are potential problems on the horizon, both coming from the federal government.  For instance, the Biden administration is placing a moratorium on leases on federal land, and Utah is roughly two-thirds federal land.

Hrenko-Browning said, “Although those lease restrictions are only one federal lands, it makes it very challenging, in the Uintah Basin, for example, to develop a large project without having some interference from either [The Office of] Federal Lands or [the Division of] Federal Minerals.”

Plus, the administration is considering upping the price on something called a “production royalty.”

“That production royalty is paid on every barrel produced, and it goes back to the U.S. federal government,” she said adding that if there are higher regulations methane emissions and higher costs on carbon will likely lead to higher prices at the pumps.

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Rising gas prices and family road trips