Labor Day Travelers Face Near-Record Gas Prices

CHICAGO (CBS) — Near-record high gas prices will greet Labor Day weekend travelers as they hit the road.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, road travelers can expect a massive police presence, a suspension of construction projects, and stop-and-go traffic. But the sticker shock at the gas pump will likely cause the greatest alarm.

Some of the more than 31 million people across the country traveling 50 or more miles this holiday weekend took to the roads early on Friday.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

CBS 2 found travelers headed to Brownsville, Duluth, and International Falls, Minn.

And they’re all traveling at a time when gas prices are the second highest they have ever been for a Labor Day weekend. In the Chicago area, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.99 per gallon.

“It’s been up around $4 a gallon for a while now here in Chicago,” said Brad Hrujsa of Chicago, “and I’m kind of sick of paying that much.”

For some people, it’s enough to turn a vacation into a stay-cation.

“Gas is too high,” said Tiffany Johnson.

But as bad as the prices are on the ground they’re even worse in the air.

Iwona Grzebienarz drove in from Colorado, and says she might have flown if airfares had been cheaper. But even at $4 per gallon, it’s still cheaper to drive.

And she’s not alone. AAA Chicago 87 percent of holiday travelers are driving this year – up 3 percent from last year.

“We’re using our student loan money to pay for gas,” said Lauren Schlueter of Dubuque, Iowa. “It’s very brutal.”

Meanwhile, Illinois State Police have warned they will conduct an unprecedented 300 roadside safety checks this weekend, and they won’t just be looking for drunk drivers.

“Our focus will target the fatal four – impaired driving, speeders, seat belt violators, and distracted driving,” said State Police Lt. Paul Riggio. There will be 300 checkpoints statewide, most of them in Chicago and the suburbs.

Last year during Labor Day weekend, State Police issued 6,500 citations for those four infractions alone. That number may balloon this year with the increased patrols.

  • YM

    People stay at home, boycott the oil componies!!!!

    • Jim

      Then the police will be out of jobs because they won’t be making any revenue either! With oil prices at almost 50% of all time highs gas prices should be close to $2.50/gallon. Refineries are cutting production because they are making higher profits for refining less gas. Someone here is making money hand over fist and none of our politicians care.

  • Zach Nepermann

    I thought gas prices were suppose to drop being that Ghadafi was out and we were going to start producing more right here. This is garbage!!! We have oil right here! We need jobs here!!! So whats the freakin problem?!?!?

    • agentandy

      One word: capitalism. After Labor Day the gas prices will drop again… like usual.

  • agentandy

    Great! Now there are two reasons NOT to travel anywhere far this Labor Day weekend!

  • Jim Horak

    Articles about what where gas prices are going and theories are great but doing something to help the consumer save a buck is a whole other story. Who the hell knows what gas prices will be the next time we go to the pump. All I know is that I am tired of paying huge gas prices. Here is a tip about a new type of Auto Club. I use their membership gas card by sticking it into gas pump and it gives me 10% right back to my account for the gas purchase and I guess some other benefits too. It is really no hassle. With money we save, we enjoy more trips, movies and family fun stuff. It might be worth it for you to check it out. , the more that are doing this the more they can discount – its kinda like Cosco or Sam’s Club in that way. The more you know, the more you save! Ask.

  • john smith

    gas prices a fraud search it out in june 2009 barrel of oil was $147.00gas was $3.99.9 a gallon new oil price is $87.00a barrel gas price is now at $3.49.9 so who is full of it

  • Rob

    Welcome to Obama’s america. Ever escalating unemployment, rising national debt, rising gas prices. He said to expect change but he never said change for the better.

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