More than 39 million people are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, which is shaping up to be one of the most expensive on record, from the gas tank to the grill.
While many Americans are eagerly anticipating their first Memorial Day in three years without federal COVID-19 restrictions, experts are cautioning consumers to be wary of a different threat: jacked up prices.
“Against a backdrop of gas prices that have continued to set new records ahead of Memorial Day, Americans have been resilient in their desire to hit the road, but we’re certainly seeing increased hesitancy due to rising prices at the pump,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said the company’s annual summer travel survey.
GasBuddy’s survey found that Memorial Day weekend will be the most popular travel weekend of the summer, but respondents still expressed concerns about the an inflation rate that’s hit a 40-year high.
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“Soaring inflation has led to uncertainty over rising costs. The COVID factor is still present but has been dwarfed this year by Americans’ concern over high gas prices and dwindling affordable travel options to make use of the best months of the year,” De Haan continued.
A stunning 70% of those surveyed said their summer travel plans have been affected by the historic gas prices, up nearly three times from a year ago.
“It’s too expensive. I would rather ride my bike than pay these prices,” lamented Ryan Bubrosky, a Connecticut native paying $5.25 a gallon for a regular gasoline at his local station.
It’s not just gas prices Americans have to worry about this weekend. The cost of a Memorial Day barbecue will also be among the highest in four decades.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the cost of hot dogs and hamburgers, food staples of Memorial Day weekend, are up 6.9% and 14.8%, respectively, from the previous year.
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Propane, which runs roughly 47 million outdoor grills in the United States, is up an additional 26.5% from 2021.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have pointed to the Biden administration’s spending and clean energy policies as the reason for high prices. Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lambasted the president on the Senate floor this week for comments the president made during a press conference in Japan suggesting the move away from fossil fuels was “an incredible transition”.
“According to President Biden, it’s all part of what call he calls a quote — ‘incredible transition.’ Well, that’s a heck of a way to describe his administration’s war on the most affordable, reliable, abundant forms of energy in our country,” the Kentucky senator said.
“The consumer price index continues to hover at levels our economy hasn’t seen in four decades. As we head into Memorial Day weekend, the American people have become reluctant experts in its painful, real-life effects.”
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On the campaign side, Republicans are imploring voters to remember the prices they pay this weekend at voting booths in November.
“From the looks of Memorial Day prices, it is shaping up to be a long, hot summer. Taking trips, whether to vacation or to buy groceries, is now more expensive than ever. With no proposed solutions, Joe Biden and the Democrats only worsen already historic inflation rates,” RNC Spokesperson Will O’Grady told FOX Business.