MICHIGAN, USA — Temperatures aren’t the only thing on the rise as summer starts. Gasoline and Diesel prices are soaring just as hundreds of thousands of Michiganders are planning to hit the road for summer plans.
If Holland’s Tulip time is any harbinger of what’s to come, those prices at the pump won't be keeping people away from their favorite West Michigan hotspots.
“We’ve been cooped up for two years,” said Fausto Fernandez, a Holland man participating in the Kinderparade. “I know we were planning a trip this summer, but we’re going to stick around within a 50 mile radius”
Fausto isn’t the only one feeling squeezed by the cost of fuel. Patrick De Haan, head of Petroleum analysis for Gas Buddy, believes that there could be even more price increases on the horizon.
He says the sanctions on Russia are impacting supply just as demand is increasing significantly, and as long as people are fueling up, the prices will rise to meet that demand.
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De Haan says when it comes to festivals and tourism, the biggest impact could come from commercial vehicles rather than people taking trips. Setting up a festival’s rides, bringing in supplies and making everything work all connect back to the trucking industry, and with diesel at record costs, nothing is unaffected.
“So it may impact the price you pay for that elephant ear or that cotton candy, could be quite a bit higher because of the semi truck or equipment used to bring it in,“ Said De Haan. “Everything at the festival could be more expensive because everything is moving via diesel powered vehicle.”
According to Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, the Whitmer administration has called on president Biden to relax the federal gas tax to bring some relief.
He said things like auto insurance refund checks and the increased earned income tax credit will also help Michiganders offset the cost of fuel.
Nobody we spoke to thinks tourism and event attendance will slow down, especially after two years without many major events.
Tom Parker, a father of three, said his family has stopped dining out in order to keep their summer plans in the budget.
“When the costs go up it affects your summer plans but you try to budget and plan and make a memorable experience for your children,” Parker said. He believes the service industry may suffer, as well as things like movie theaters or other expenses that families will cut out to make their budgets work.
De Haan said there are ways to save money even if you drive for your summer plans.
He said driving five to ten miles slower than you typically do will make your vehicle more fuel efficient, which could save 10% of the fuel you use, if not more.
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