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Gas prices expected to cut into summer travel

Summer travel is “poised to plunge” because of high gas prices. That is the prediction of gasoline market watchdog GasBuddy.com.

In its annual summer travel survey, only 58 percent of respondents planned to take a road trip this summer. That is down 24 percent from last year. 9 percent of those taking the survey cited high gas prices as having the key impact on their travel decisions.

The Associated Press reports that fewer people have visited Yellowstone National Park so far this year, compared to the same time frame last year. Park officials said the difference is almost entirely because of a decline in park visits during April. The park counted a 16 percent drop from 2017’s total April visitor numbers.

The national average gas price is at its highest point since November 2014 due to long-term OPEC production cuts, the U.S. exiting the Iran nuclear deal, declining U.S. inventories and high demand. Gas prices are expected to be 65 cents per gallon higher this year than a year ago, according to GasBuddy. The higher price is forecast to cost motorists $1 billion more than last year from Thursday to Monday alone.

Travelers will compensate by taking trips closer to home and spending less time away.

In Idaho, average retail gas prices have not moved in the past week. Based on surveys of over 800 Idaho service stations, GasBuddy reported that prices averaged $3.11 per gallon on Sunday.

Prices were 62 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 10.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average price increased 16.1 cents per gallon during the past month.

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