Falling gas prices leads to more driving

·2 min read

Sep. 2—MANKATO — When gas was more than $4 a gallon this summer, Theresa Calsbeek limited out-of-town trips to college visits for her son John. Otherwise, the family stayed home.

"When it got to over $4 a gallon, it was $70 to fill up on a tank of gas," said the teacher and mother of three. "So I might only do $30 or $40 instead of the full tank."

"We didn't go out of town," the Mankato woman said. "We only went for college visits and that was strategically budgeted for gas for those day trips or overnight trips."

Now that gas prices are lower, the family is back on the road. On Thursday they took a day trip to see Calsbeek's in-laws in Sibley, Iowa, passing through Worthington. Calsbeek also plans to drive to the Twin Cities this Labor Day weekend to go shopping with her sister.

She always has gas prices in mind, Calsbeek said, and tries to get as much bang for her buck as she can with Hy-Vee's fuel savers program. For her Twin Cities day trip, she plans to gas up in Mankato knowing prices are more reasonable here than in the metro. Gas Buddy listed the lowest price Friday in Mankato at $3.57 per gallon at Sam's Club.

The current average for Minnesota gas prices is $3.74, compared to $3.03 last year at this time, said Meredith Mitts, public affairs specialist for AAA Minnesota and Iowa.

"Gas prices have been coming down for 10 consecutive weeks," she said. "We are 6 cents below the national average. As the prices fall nationally, they are also falling in Minnesota.

"Because the crude oil prices are declining, that is why we're seeing a decline at the pumps," Mitts added, "even though supply has tightened."

Travel trends show that we are close to reaching the state's pre-pandemic numbers, and she said it's safe to assume that trend will continue.

"We aren't quite back to those record-breaking numbers we had in 2019, but we are seeing significantly higher numbers than we did in 2020 and 2021," Mitts said.