Soaring gas prices limit long weekend travel plans for Canadians

The Victoria Day long weekend is usually the unofficial start of summer, a time to get away with friends and family. But this year, despite most COVID-19 mandates being lifted, rising gas prices held many Canadians back from making travel plans. Several decided to stay closer to home to avoid spending much at the pumps.

With the price of fuel throwing a wrench into many long weekend agendas, social media has been brimming with comments from frustrated Canadians.

Although the nation’s gas prices took a slight dip before the long weekend, the cost has been on an uphill climb since Russia began its invasion on Ukraine – and is still expected to be pricey during the summer.

In late February, oil spiked to around US$100 a barrel, and there’s no sign of those crude prices coming down anytime soon.

As of Sunday, the average price of gas in Canada was $1.97 per litre, according to GasBuddy.

Provinces like Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia had prices hit at least $2.00 per litre, with the latter sitting at $2.15 per litre on Sunday. Average gas prices in Newfoundland and Labrador hit $2.18 per litre. In Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta prices sit under $2.00 per litre, according to GasBuddy.

With no end in sight for Canada’s record high gas prices, many have also decided to cancel their summer travel plans.

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Two thirds of Canadian drivers will be staying closer to home this summer, according to a recent Leger survey for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). Eight in ten Canadian drivers also believe high gas prices are here to stay.

A total of 66 per cent of drivers said fuel prices will force them to cancel or limit road trips this summer, the survey found. Some RV owners also say high gasoline prices will keep them closer to home this summer.

Although Rob Minarchi, vice-president of sales at ArrKann Trailer and R.V. Centre, hasn’t seen people getting rid of their RV’s due to high gas prices, he’s definitely heard about those staying close by.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of people are just camping a little closer,” he told the Canadian Press from Edmonton. “If they were going to do a five-hour trip, now they are going to do a one-hour trip… I think it actually ties in a little bit with COVID and staying close to home.”

Some campgrounds are starting to notice some changes.

“I’ve had a few people cancel,” said Scott Kast, owner of Tomahawk R.V. at Lake of the Woods in Ontario.

But, he said, gas prices are a minor factor in those cancellations.

“We do get a lot of Americans here. One thing holding people back is vaccine mandates,” said Kast.

Another campground manager told CKPG radio station in Prince George, B.C., that some people travelling from farther away have cancelled.

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“A lot of people are wanting to stay local,” said Bobbie Carpino, who runs the Salmon Valley campground.

— With files from the Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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