COVID-19

Gas prices are low ahead of Memorial Day. But will people travel?

Justin Ho May 22, 2020
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Gas prices heading into the Memorial Day weekend are at their lowest levels in nearly two decades. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
COVID-19

Gas prices are low ahead of Memorial Day. But will people travel?

Justin Ho May 22, 2020
Heard on:
Gas prices heading into the Memorial Day weekend are at their lowest levels in nearly two decades. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Gas prices heading into the Memorial Day weekend are at their lowest levels in nearly two decades. According to AAA, the national average gas price is just above $1.90 a gallon.

But on this unofficial start to the summer holiday season, that might not be enough to get people to hit the road.

AAA usually issues a Memorial Day travel forecast around this time, but this year the company said COVID-19 undermined the data it uses to make that prediction.

“It’s not necessarily reliable, right? There’s not much going on with the economy right now to give us good indicators of what we can expect for travel and the holiday weekend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

Casselano says people will still travel, but overall, travel could fall to a record low for the weekend, despite cheap gas prices.

The bright side? “We’re nearly a dollar cheaper than a year ago, and we’re not going to jump back up to the typical summer numbers anytime soon,” Casselano said of gas prices.

Traffic has started picking up, though. Patrick De Haan at the price tracking company GasBuddy says that means demand for gas is rising, too.

“It’s still down 20% from where it was prior to coronavirus, but the rebound has caused gas prices to rebound as well,” De Haan said.

He says those prices will likely keep climbing through Labor Day.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do vaccines mean for economic recovery?

COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, according to expert witnesses who testified at a recent hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee. Put simply, we can’t eradicate the virus because it infects other species, and there will also be folks who choose not to get the vaccine or don’t mount an immune response, according to Dr. Céline Gounder at NYU School of Medicine & Bellevue Hospital. “That means we can’t only rely on vaccination,” Gounder said. She said the four phases of recovering from the pandemic are ending the emergency, relaxing mitigation measures, getting to herd immunity and having long-term control.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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