Gas prices in Los Angeles have yet again reached an all-time high, just as 3.1 million Southern Californians were expected to hit the roads and skies over the extended Memorial Day Weekend.
With Memorial Day signaling the start of Summer, 39.2 million Americans joined the throngs of travelers as numbers hit pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2019.
As the number of travelers rose, so did gas prices and cost of travel, as Los Angeles experienced it's fifth-consecutive day of increasing gas prices, reaching a record $6.16 per gallon -- up nearly two dollars from the previous Memorial Day record of $4.29 in 2012.
One gas station in Beverly Grove displayed an astounding $7.49 per gallon of regular unleaded gas. Another in Studio City showed a less-staggering, but still upsetting $7.09.
"It's ridiculous," said Luis Cruz, a Los Angeles resident who opted to skip out on travel for the holiday due to inflation. "It's beyond my thoughts."
These inflating prices fall in line with all different sorts of markets throughout the United States -- including the travel industry -- and just at a time when families begin to plan summer vacations as the school year comes to an end.
"Energy costs are way too high, the President's taken some steps to ease that by the release of our reserves. While we recognize the international circumstances with the war in Ukraine and energy prices are not determined here in the United States, we need to do more about it," said Maryland Senator Ben Cardin.
Since Feb. 24, when Russia's invasion of Ukraine began, prices in Los Angeles County have seen a $1.36 jump on average. The event, "`sent shock waves through the oil market that have kept oil costs elevated," per AAA national public relations manager Andrew Gross.
The gas prices have not only affected drivers, but fliers, who have seen ticket prices leap to inflated levels as airlines attempt to make up for the cost of fuel on their end as well.
Based on Hopper pricing from 2021, the price of domestic flights has skyrocketed by 45%.
On top of the gas prices, airlines across the nation experienced thousands of delays for a variety or reasons including staff shortages and bad weather. Fortunately for those traveling through the Southland, those cancellations were limited, as LAX reported just 1% of operations were delayed or canceled.
Delta Airlines was hit particularly hard, reporting a cancelation of 9% of their weekend operations, citing limited air traffic controllers.
On the other hand, Southwest Airlines admitted that due to a shortage in pilots, they're unable to keep up with the sudden increase in demand for flights both domestically and internationally.
"We have about 5-6% of our aircraft right now that we can't fly because we don't have enough staffing," said Southwest CEO Robert E. Jordan.
Experts are still unable to predict if the travel industry will take a hit based on these rising numbers, which they aren't sure people can continue to afford.
"You're gonna spend more money getting there, paying for gas, than you actually are to enjoy your visit," said another Southland resident, Shay Otenbreit.
Because of these inflating prices, most Americans are opting to take shorter trips to destinations closer to home, as detailed by a recent survey conducted by The Vacationer.
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