Gas up, and get on with summer
Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer, has now come and gone and businesses, especially those that rely on summer vacationers, are beginning to wonder what’s ahead. The recent increases in the price of gasoline has had many concerned it would affect the tourism industry, especially here on Long Island, which relies on that important seasonal revenue. But if the 2018 Memorial Day travel pattern is any indication of what the summer has in store, no one needs to worry.
A 2016 study (Tourism Economics) noted that tourism spending on Long Island totaled $5.6 billion and supported 78,202 jobs. That’s a good thing. The problem is, all of Suffolk County’s major attractions, such as South Shore beaches and North Fork vineyards, can only be reached by train or a motor vehicle. That’s now getting more expensive, thanks to the higher cost of gas. As per the website www.gasbuddy.com, last Sunday’s prices for gas on Long Island are 1.7 cents per gallon higher than the same day a week earlier, putting the average price per gallon at about $3.09. The average increase nationwide is at 1.8 cents per gallon. That means gas prices are 58.1 cents higher than the same day a year ago and 15.5 cents higher than just one month ago. In 2017, the price of gas on Memorial Day weekend was at $2.51 per gallon. It was $2.46 the same time in 2016. However, even today’s price doesn’t compare with what we paid in 2014, which was $3.91 per gallon.
Although no one can predict with certainty how much higher the price of gas will go as the summer progresses, experts are optimistic, as it appears OPEC is ready to increase crude oil production, which will ultimately bring gas prices down. We’ll see.
But in the meantime, it seems the higher price for gas hasn’t yet had an effect on vacation travel. According to AAA, nearly 37 million Americans traveled by vehicle this past holiday weekend. And that’s a 5 percent increase from last year.
There are some incredible places to visit this summer here on Long Island and beyond. A few cents per gallon more shouldn’t—and apparently hasn’t—ruined any vacation plans. So just gas up, pay up and enjoy the summer.
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