June 19, 2024


Full Of Eastern Travel

High gas prices spur travel changes in Massachusetts, US

More than half of Americans plan to make travel changes because of rising gas prices, according to a recent AAA survey. But when it comes to summer vacations, many people are not letting those prices get in the way.

“When gas prices get this high, we definitely see behavior changes in people,” said Mary Maguire, AAA director of Legislative and Public Affairs in Massachusetts.

She said regular gas is at an all-time high average cost of $4.39 per gallon, and diesel is at an all-time high of $6.27 per gallon.

“People will be driving less, working more from home and consolidating trips, among other things,” Maguire said. “They are finding they have no choice but to make adjustments.”

National average at all time high

AAA said 59% of survey respondents said they would change their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas rose to $4 per gallon.

“If gas were to reach $5, which it has in the Western part of the country, three-quarters said they would need to adjust their lifestyle to offset the spike at the pump,” AAA said.

“While many Americans may adapt their daily habits to make up for higher gas prices, it likely won’t have as much of an impact on summer travel. AAA’s survey found that 52% of Americans have plans to take a vacation this summer. Of those, 42% said they would not consider changing their travel plans regardless of the price of gas.”

Pump prices rose again over the past week, primarily because of the high cost of crude oil, AAA said. The cost of a barrel of crude continues to hover around $100.

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“As long as the supply remains tight, it will be hard for crude oil prices to fall and consumers will in turn face higher prices at the pump,” said Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson. “It now costs drivers in the U.S. about $23 more to fill up than a year ago.”

All prices rising

Overall, U.S. consumers are paying 8.5% more for goods and services compared with last year. The 18.3% increase in gasoline prices in March accounted for most of the increase in last month’s overall Consumer Price Index, which rose by 1.2% from February.

Nationwide, Democrats have proposed potential remedies,including the “Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax,” a per-barrel tax on major oil companies “equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019,” according to a brief of the bill.

Four states – Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and New York – have enacted gas tax holidays to provide temporary relief. Massachusetts lawmakers have resisted calls to suspend the state’s gas tax.

Many Republican lawmakers are resurrecting calls to expand the Keystone XL pipeline, which they say would lower gas prices and help the U.S. become more energy independent.

President Joe Biden prevented the expansion in one of his earliest executive orders, citing environmental concerns. Keystone XL, which would ship crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to existing pipelines and then to the Gulf Coast refineries, would take years to construct and would not ensure increased U.S. supplies.

USA Today personal finance and markets correspondent Elisabeth Buchwald contributed to this article.

This article originally appeared on wickedlocal.com: National gas prices at all-time high; Mass. travelers make changes