Michigan’s gas prices are creeping up to close to $3 a gallon, and could go even higher as more than 1 million people in the state, a nearly 60% increase from last year, are expected to take trips during Memorial Day weekend.
AAA warned that the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers 45% of fuel to the East Coast, is offline as a result of a cyberattack, so there could be some shortages.
Moreover, there also appears to be a shortage of tanker truck drivers to deliver the gas.
So consider refueling when the tank gets down to a half- or a quarter-tank, just to make sure you don’t run out.
“For many people, this will be their first summer vacation in two years, and things will look a little different,” AAA Vice President Debbie Haas said Tuesday, cautioning that there’s a pandemic and reduced capacities. “We encourage travelers to plan ahead.”
If you are fully vaccinated, you are free to travel at low risk, according to the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Unvaccinated travelers should get tested, wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Gas prices are up more than $1 than they were this time last year, when demand — as well as the prices at the pump — dropped. The state average $2.95 a gallon is only about 12 cents more than they were in 2019.
Still, most of the gas stations in Michigan are expected to have enough supply on hand.
The expected travel rebound in Michigan — and nationally — is a result of more than a year’s worth of pent-up demand, Haas said. The auto club expects more than 37 million people to travel 50 miles or more from May 27 to May 31.
Still, holiday travel in Michigan is expected to be lower than it was in 2019, when 1.2 million residents traveled. In 2020, there were only about 699,000 travelers, and all but a few thousand of them were by car.
INRIX, a private location-based data analytics company, predicts drivers will run into the longest travel delays right before the holiday weekend, especially in the afternoons on May 27 and May 28.
In metro Detroit, the worst times to hit the road are expected to be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 28, especially on I-696 west, and from M-10 to I-94. Traffic should delay travel by 1.5 times.
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or [email protected]
Here are AAA’s top U.S. destinations based on bookings and Trip Tik searches:
- Las Vegas
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina