Gas prices increase as states rollback COVID restrictions

Errol Barnett
·1 min read

Millions of Americans are on the move — both in the air and on the roads — as more states are reopening and lifting COVID-19 restrictions. But drivers in all 50 states are likely getting sticker shock as the national average for gas hits the highest prices the country has seen since 2019.

The national average is now $2.87 per gallon.

"If it hits $3, I'm parking this car," said Malaisha Rayner of Fort Myers, Florida.

A recent AAA report found average prices jumped double digits in two-thirds of the country. In Utah, gas is up $0.25. In Idaho and Missouri, it increased $0.17 per gallon.

The price hike is fueled by severe weather that crippled Texas refineries in February, as well as an increase in demand.

Air travel is taking off too. For the fifth straight day, more than 1 million people boarded flights across the country. Transportation Security Administration data show there were more than 1 million travelers via planes each day between March 11 and March 15. On March 12, there were nearly 1.4 million travelers — the most on any day since March 15, 2020, four days after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

While air travel has not hit pre-pandemic levels yet, the uptick is concerning for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is advising people to delay travel and stay home. If people must travel, they should be vaccinated first, the agency said.

Jason Silverstein contributed reporting.

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