SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNT) – With the countdown to the Fourth of July underway and the pandemic in check, plenty of people are ready to hit the road. But driving to those family picnics, barbecues, and fireworks shows will likely cost you a lot more this year as nationwide gas prices are up more than 42% from last year.
Nearly 90% of all gas stations in the U.S. are setting prices at more than $2.75. This results in the highest prices for July 4th since 2014. In northeast Kansas, the prices aren’t all skyrocketing though. Silver Lake 66 on U.S. 24 said their prices have been steady.
“In years past, gas prices typically do change, but this year they’ve stayed the same,” Ahmed Farooqi, of Silver Lake 66, said.
If you’re going out of town, that may be a different story. Californians are shelling out more than $4 a gallon. Hawaii and Washington State aren’t too far behind. In Illinois, a gallon of regular-grade gas will set you back $3.31.
The national average is $3.10. As Kansas drivers here know, the Sunflower State has not reached those prices.
“Thankfully not a shortage of gasoline, in fact, refineries are churning out near all-time record amounts of gasoline. The problem is getting truck drivers to deliver that gasoline as quickly as it’s needed,” Patrick De Haan, head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, said.
The National Tank Truck Carriers, a non-profit organization, said there aren’t enough certified drivers to deliver gas. There was already a driver shortage before the pandemic, but the coronavirus pandemic made it far worse.
“Simply a matter of going to the next station as this is an issue that will likely affect less than 1% of the nation’s 150,000 stations,” De Haan said.
Some 43 million people are expected to hit the road for the 4th of July weekend. That’s more than we saw pre-pandemic in 2019.
There are several things you can try to keep you from re-fueling so quickly. Try to drive the speed limit. If possible, don’t go over 50 miles per hour, as some experts say you use more fuel when you cross that mark. Also, try to roll the windows down instead of cranking the air conditioning.