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Gas prices hit record high as travel ramps up for Memorial Day weekend

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Gas prices across the country are hitting record-highs just in time for the travel-heavy Memorial Day holiday.

AAA said Thursday that gas prices in Missouri are hitting new records every day since May 11. The nationwide average on Thursday is $4.59 and Missouri's average is $4.19 -- up $1.38 from this time last year.

Missouri has the fifth-lowest gas prices in the county; a few months ago it was battling for the lowest with Kansas.

“High demand for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel is putting upward pressure on oil prices which is causing prices to rise at the pump,” said AAA spokesperson Nick Chabarria.

However, AAA still expects Memorial Day travel to increase 5% from previous years.

“Despite record-high gas prices, AAA anticipates Memorial Day Weekend travel to be busy with 34.9 million Americans hitting the road," Chabarria said.

AAA recommends safe driving to save on fuel prices. Speeding, accelerating and stopping quickly, idling the engine and not maintaining tires can result in using more gas than necessary.

Air travel is also expected to increase over Memorial Day weekend. Airline sales have been down since the pandemic began in 2020, but AAA expects Memorial Day this year to see levels close to 2019.

“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”

To save money on flights and hotel bookings, AAA recommends planning ahead. The best time to book a flight is two weeks ahead, according to AAA, when prices will be an average of $445 per ticket. Last-minute bookers may be paying nearly double that, at an average of $845 per ticket.

American Airlines expects more than 5,700 customers daily through Memorial Day weekend. Spokesperson Gianna Urgo said the busiest day at Columbia Regional airport will be Thursday, May 26 with 5,761 scheduled flights.

Article Topic Follows: Travel
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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

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