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High price of gas may impact air travel

Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 09:22:22-05

(WXMI) — The national average of gas prices is hitting a record of $4.33 a gallon for regular unleaded. In Michigan, the price is about $4.26 a gallon.

“The record was $4.25 set in may 2011 and yesterday we hit $4.26 so that was a new record,” says AAA spokesperson Adrienne Woodland.

“It’s a struggle,” says Anna Vega, who thinks prices are way too high. She's been putting just enough gas in her tank to get by. As for any family road trips…

“We might,” she speculates. “It all depends if gas is not high then either.”

With the increase in fuel prices causing pain at the pump, the question remains if the same will be felt for those taking flight.

“Especially as we head into the busy summer travel season, airfare may be impacted if the airlines did not buy futures to cover for uncertainty and need to increase fuel surcharges,” Woodland explains.

“Futures” are contracts used as a hedging strategy — also known as locking a price in for a period of time.

Southwest Airlines tells FOX 17 they already have those in place to help mitigate fluctuations in the energy market, with about 64% of fuel hedged.

“Also jet fuel has to be micro-processed or refined to a greater degree than fuel for cars…and it’s costly,” Woodland adds.

Experts say although an increase in fuel prices could potentially impact air travel, there are ways to get in front of it, including using a travel agent, travel vouchers or points, and locking in prices by paying in full.

“Plan ahead as much as possible,” says Woodland. “Be flexible and book early.”

We reached out to multiple airlines to get an idea of where things stand with fuel prices affecting air travel. They all told us they can't speak or speculate publicly about future pricing.

RELATED: It's not just gas! Michiganders grapple with other products affected by high crude oil prices

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