To drive or not to drive? With rising gas prices, this is the question for many Americans this Memorial Day weekend.
For Marvin Harper of Phoenix, his family’s weekend travel plans come as a double-punch to the wallet. His daughter and son each have a soccer tournament in Southern California and Colorado, respectively. Harper and his daughter will travel by plane to Denver instead of driving because of the cost of fuel. His wife and son will drive to California in her SUV.
“My mother-in-law’s going with my wife and son to split that cost because it’s just too much on our household,” said Harper, as he filled up the tank of his truck at a Phoenix QuikTrip.
“We can’t afford both of us to drive. That’s the bottom line … Gas prices are killing our household.
It’s the same reason why some people also reconsider holiday plans, forcing them to opt for a staycation locally, to lessen the impact on their budgets.
Laura Dena and her sons usually travel to Southern California around Memorial Day weekend to escape the scorching heat of Arizona. Since it takes at least $100 to fill up her truck, they’re staying home this year.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Dena while waiting in line in 90-degree heat for a pump at a Costco in Phoenix. “It’s upsetting, but there’s not much we can do. We have to pay the price.”
The average price for gas in the U.S. on Thursday was $4.60 per gallon, as per AAA figures. In California, it topped $6. The high cost of oil, mainly because many buyers are refusing to buy Russian oil due to its invasion of Ukraine, is the primary reason for the steep gasoline prices.
AAA estimates that 39.2 million people in the U.S. will travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more from home during this holiday weekend.
Outdoorsy, an online rental marketplace for RVs and campervans, sees renters have changed their plans throughout the pandemic. In the beginning, people would rent an RV to travel cross-country safely to visit family. Now, they’re back to using the RVs as a cost-effective way for a vacation tethered to nature.
“I think everyone needs a vacation, I really do,” Outdoorsy co-founder Jen Young said. “Have we ever lived through a more stressful, challenging — mentally and physically and spiritually — time in our lives?”
This story originally appeared on Washington Post.