High gas prices could affect Americans’ summer vacation plans this year.
Nottingham, Md. (KM) – The question most people are asking is why are gasoline prices so high. Ragina Ali, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic, says it has to do with crude oil. “With crude oil comprising about 50% or a little more of the cost of the gasoline, and with it continuing to trade over $100 per barrel, that is the primary cause why we’re seeing gas prices rise not only in Maryland, and in western Maryland and across the region, but across the country as well,” she says.
As of Friday, AAA says the national average price for gasoline is $4.43 per gallon. In Maryland, it’s $4.41 per gallon; and in Frederick, it’s $4.39 per gallon.
Ali says the gas price increase started after the war between Russia and Ukraine began. But now it’s being affected by a recent announcement by the European Union. . “We have also seen that because of the recent announcement by the European Union that they may further ban Russian oil imports, those are also factors that are playing into the price of crude oil and subsequently factoring into the price of what we’re seeing at the pump,” she says.
It’s also affecting the US, even though this country doesn’t receive a lot of its oil from Russia. “The US does not rely heavily on Russia for oil. But this is a global issue, and certainly other countries, particularly many in Europe, do rely on Russian oil,”: says Ali.
She says it’s uncertain when gasoline prices will settle down, but it looks like they will continue going up even into the summer vacation period which begins in about two weeks. “We certainly expect that some people will either decide not to go away this summer, or that they will budget differently, perhaps cut back or stay closer to home,” says Ali.
If you’re planning to go away this summer, or you need your car to get to work, school or the store, there are ways to cope with higher gasoline prices. Ali says make sure your vehicle is well maintained, and that the tires are properly inflated. In addition, avoid letting your vehicle idle. She says if you’re in a line at a bank or fast-food restaurant, you can save gas by turning off the engine and restarting it. She also says consolidate all your errands. In order to reduce drag on your car, remove any roof racks or rear mounted ranks, and avoid carrying heavy loads in your car.
AAA also has some features on its website to help motorists save on gasoline. There’s aaa.com\fuelfinders which locates the lowest gasoline prices in your town. There’s gasprices.aaa.com\gascostcalculator which you cam use to budget for travel expenses. And aaa.com\mobile to help plot fuel prices along your travel route.
By Kevin McManus