Rising Gas Prices Putting Dent in Spring Break Plans Across U.S.

Gas prices have been skyrocketing in recent weeks across the U.S. as spring break season approaches, and the higher cost of fuel is potentially putting a dent in people's spring break travel plans this year.

Prices have been increasing for over a year, but the recent spike comes as various Western countries weigh sanctions on Russian oil in response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

According to the American Automobile Association, the national average on Friday was $4.331 a gallon, setting a record for the fourth day in a row. The previous record was $4.10 set in 2008 before the recession.

These record-setting prices might have the potential to affect this year's travel industry, causing setbacks in travelers' plans.

Sharon Fake, director of operations for Travel Experts with more than 400 affiliated travel advisers, told Newsweek, "The extreme rise in gas prices have definitely had an impact on the consumer pocketbook for holiday travel for the spring break around the county."

"However," Fake added, "the impact on the travel advisers has been minimal since most trips have been planned and booked months in advance. Some last-minute changes and cancellations are happening, but the real impact will be felt for holiday travel for Memorial Day and Independence Day plans, which are being made now."

Several students at North Carolina State University told CBS 17 that they are having to make changes to their spring break plans to accommodate for the price of fuel, including shortening their trips and switching from driving to flying.

"Of course, I would've loved to stay in Florida longer for spring break, but I'm just happy to be going anywhere[.] This will be my first flight since COVID," one student, Adam Sichel, said.

Twenty-seven states have posted record highs on Friday as well, including California, which showed an average of $5.72 a gallon.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told Newsweek in an earlier report, "It's a dire situation and won't improve any time soon. The high prices are likely to stick around for not days or weeks, like they did in 2008, but months. GasBuddy now expects the yearly national average to rise to its highest ever recorded."

With travel plans predicted to be at pre-pandemic levels once again while COVID-19 cases are on a nationwide decline, the cost of gas isn't stopping many travelers.

AAA Wisconsin spokesperson Nick Jarmusz told WMTV that it still expects this year to be "a very robust travel season."

"But certainly gas prices and other economic uncertainties may temper that and lead it to be not quite as big as it might otherwise have been," he said.

AAA spokesperson Montrae Waiters advises that if you're looking to book a trip this year, book sooner rather than later.

"Definitely book now if you can. The earlier you book, more than likely, the better the prices are gonna be," she told news station WMAZ.

U.S. Bans Russian Oil As Gas Prices
Spring break travel plans could be thwarted for many as the price of gas continues to increase, and the national average has recorded an all-time high for the fourth day in a row, according to AAA. In this photo, gas prices are displayed on gas station in Weehawken, New Jersey, March 9. Kena Betancur/VIEWpress via Getty Images