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Gas prices reach record high causing some to change summer travel plans

Officials suggest summer travel and war overseas are pushing gas prices higher than ever before.

ARKANSAS, USA — Officials with the American Automobile Association say gas prices are hitting record numbers and that they're staying high through the summer.

Nick Chabarria, an AAA Spokesperson, explained that gas prices usually rise around summer.

“We typically see anywhere from like a 10 to 17 cent increase in the summer months," Chabarria said.

Chabarria explained that with a rise in demand through summer travel and higher cost of production, summer usually brings higher gas prices. Yet, another factor is playing into the record numbers of 2022.

“What we’re still really feeling are the effects of the ongoing Russian war with Ukraine," Chabarria said. "Still some oil supply concerns as more countries, specifically in the European Union ban the import of Russian oil.”

Gas prices rely on the global oil market. Instead of just extra travelers this summer raising demand, countries banning the imports of Russian oil are also raising the demand globally.

In Arkansas, some are making different choices when pumping to save on gas.

“Instead of using premium all the time, I’ll alternate tanks between 89 and 91," said Pea Ridge Commuter, Jeff Hill. "I don’t know if that’s taking a toll on my truck or not but we’ll see down the road.”

“I can’t always run midgrade, I’ve got to run premium, but it’s like the cheapest option I’ve got right now,” said Springdale commuter, Timothy Webb.

Chabarria says that if a car manufacturer requires premium gas, drivers should stick to their driver's manuals when pumping. He also explained that a study done by AAA shows that using premium gas when not required by a manufacturer has no benefit.

“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair in a press release. “AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality, and urges drivers to follow the owner’s manual recommendations for their vehicle’s fuel.”

With many continuing their travels for summer vacation, some are choosing to stay home because of gas prices.

“We’re not traveling near as much as we used to," Hill said. "I’ve got cousins that have had trips planned to Arizona. They canceled them because of the gas prices.”

“I like to go visit my son sometimes," Webb said. "But since the gas prices increase and he stays five hours away, I can’t really do it because gas guzzler, high gas prices, ridiculous.” 

Chabarria suggests anyone looking to travel use the AAA Calculator for gas costs.

According to a press release, AAA Tips to save money on fuel:

  • Bad driving isn’t just unsafe. It’s expensive. Studies have repeatedly shown that personal driving habits are the single biggest factor that affects vehicle fuel consumption. Adopting new and improved driving behaviors can contribute to significant savings at the gas pump. Here are some simple ways drivers can improve fuel efficiency:
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. Higher speeds result in more aerodynamic drag.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  • Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
  • Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
  • When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
  • When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
  • Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you.

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