There will be no getaway from high gas prices over Memorial Day

Travel is expected to rebound this Memorial Day weekend after a COVID-19 slump, but road trippers should brace for regular gas to average more than $4 a gallon in 47 states, AAA reports.

Illinois is the seventh-most expensive state for gas - averaging $4.83 for a gallon of regular as of Monday. Even higher are Alaska at $4.89, Oregon at $5, Washington at $5.03, Nevada at $5.18, Hawaii at $5.32 and California at a painful $5.98.

For comparison, Illinoisans paid $3.25 a gallon one year ago.

Erratic crude oil costs are behind the careening gasoline rates, analysts said.

"Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year," AAA spokeswoman Molly Hart said in a statement.

Global events such as COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine are causing jittery markets, experts said. Plus the switch to more expensive summer gas piles on for consumers.

Close to home, a gallon of regular averaged $5.02 Monday in the Chicago metro area, but at one Rolling Meadows Shell station it was $5.09. On April 16, it was $4.48.

Taking a Midwest jaunt on the holiday weekend? So far, Iowa's charging $4.12 a gallon on average, Wisconsin $4.22, Michigan $4.39 and Indiana $4.42.

Meanwhile the best gas bargains lie in Kansas at $3.97 a gallon. It's about $3.99 per gallon in Georgia and Oklahoma.

Illinoisans' comfort level with traveling amid the pandemic was 72%, according to an April survey. Last spring it was 44%.

"We're hearing from travelers who are eager to return to a sense of normalcy, and it appears that time is finally here," AAA Vice President of Travel Debbie Haas said in a statement. "Travel bookings are surging, with people who are tired of being home, are ready to explore new destinations and reconnect with family and friends."

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