SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After months of reduced or no travel, many Americans are starting to get back on the road for summer vacations. While the number of July 4th holiday travelers will likely be lower than usual this year, the gas prices are also down.
“We just got back from Rapid City actually, took my parents out there to see the great-grand kids,” Jerry Selchert in Sioux Falls said.
After months stuck at home, many people are excited to start traveling again.
“We’re going to Okoboji Iowa,” Shaine Hill in Sioux Falls said.
“It’s going to be shorter trips usually,” AAA South Dakota Public Affairs director Marilyn Buskohl said.
AAA South Dakota says these closer-to-home destinations are much more common during this pandemic year.
“I do think more people are more comfortable driving,” Hill said.
“I think by and large most people feel more comfortable having some sort of safety net with their vehicle, they can pick and chose where they want to go,” Buskohl said.
But overall, the number of travelers hitting the road is still less than a typical 4th of July holiday week.
“I’d assume they’ll be a lot less busy than they usually are, a lot of people will be staying home because of the COVID,” Selchert said.
The decline in travel had the price of gas dipping well below $2.00 a gallon for months, but the demand is slowly starting to come back.
“There was a 10-percent increase of demand week over week last week but we’re still not to the levels we were last year of course,” Buskohl said.
The change in demand has also meant prices at the pump are changing too.
“I think they’re starting to go up again, they were pretty low for a while but everything has to go back up eventually,” Hill said.
“We’re going to see gas prices continue to go up,” Buskohl said. “The statewide average in South Dakota today is at $2.08 and actually we’re at 60 cents lower than we were at this time last year.”
For the first time in decades, AAA did not release a 4th of July holiday travel forecast due to unknown impact of the pandemic. The travel organization does anticipate there will be roughly 683 million trips throughout the country beginning from July 1 through September 30th this year.