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Gas Prices Surge In Sync With 4th Of July Holiday Weekend

Wassim Chou

As Oregonians take to the roads for the 4th of July holiday weekend, they’ll be paying the highest gas prices of 2021 to date. 

With the average price of gas going at $3.59 per gallon, AAA says pump prices are the highest they’ve been since 2014. That’s $. 48 cents more than the national average, noted Marie Dodds, AAA spokesperson. She cited three factors: 

“First of all, confidence in the worldwide vaccination rollout.  More vaccines mean more people are out and about and returning to their normal life cycles," explained Dodds.

"Secondly, we’re seeing spikes in oil demand around the globe. That’s putting upward pressure on crude oil prices.  And we’re seeing the easing of travel restrictions, and this is leading to optimism for leisure travel.” 

Those prices won’t impact cyclists and electric car owners, of course. But gas-powered lawn mowers, generators, and other machines will be more costly to run.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Eugene drivers head towards 105/I-5, in May 2019.

It might also be assumed that with the cost of gas as high as it is right now, that budget-conscious travelers will limit the distance they go.  But Dodds said that’s not expected to be the case.

“People tend to look at cutting back when gas prices get to $3.50 a gallon. And people definitely cut back when gas prices approach $4.00 a gallon. 

"This year is a little bit different. We have people coming out of COVID hibernation. We have a significant, pent-up demand for travel. Folks want to get out and explore, and see family over the last 15 months.”

Dodds said travelers may instead limit their dining and shopping, or opt for cheaper lodgings to offset the cost.

An estimated 597,000 Oregonians are expected to travel this weekend, most of those by vehicle.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.