Many Utahns plan to travel over weekend, despite high gas prices

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    By RYAN HASLAM

    High gas prices in Utah aren’t high enough to deter Labor Day vacationers from reaching their favorite spots, predict experts.

    The Utah state average is $1.39 for a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded. However, according to AAA Utah, about one in eight Utahns will be traveling more than 100 miles this Labor Day weekend.

    Despite record high gas prices in Utah this summer, travel has been busy due to a robust economy.

    Provo is right at the Utah average, where customers are paying $1.39 for a gallon of self-serve unleaded regular, compared by the AAA to $1.31 gallon of gas, the national average.

    Last year, the Labor Day weekend averages were much lower, at $1.14 per gallon, according to AAA Utah’s monthly gas survey.

    AAA officials said they predict a strong travel period over the Labor Day weekend despite soaring gas prices, with statistics figuring an estimated 250,000 Utahns on the road.

    “A strong economy will help make this the second busiest Labor Day for travel on record,” said AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough.

    The busiest Labor Day weekend for travel on record was in 1997 with 34.9 million travelers, according to AAA Worldwide Travel.

    Local gas companies said they do not plan on raising gas prices to take advantage of the influx of travel over the weekend.

    “We will not be raising our prices at all this weekend,” said the management at Maverick’s in Provo. “The last time we raised prices was early last week, and we don’t plan on changing those prices for some time.”

    Christianson Oil Company, the managing company of Crest gas stations, claims it will only change its prices if its local competition decides to raise its prices.

    “We follow our competitors,” said Christianson Oil. “If they move up this weekend, so will we.”

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