BUSINESS + ECONOMY

With soaring gas prices, expert says people will stay closer to home

Mar 11, 2022, 7:14 PM

Utah gas prices...

March 7, 2022: Image of gas prices in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Vicki Varella with the Utah Department of Tourism told Jeff Caplan's Afternoon News that she expects people to stay closer to home due to the soaring gas prices. Photo credit: Debbie Dujanovic

SALT LAKE CITY — Make no mistake about it, gas prices are soaring. 

However, with the pandemic starting to ease up, people are wanting to get out and travel.

Vicki Varella with the Utah Department of Tourism told Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News, the department expects travelers to stay closer to home, while gas prices remain high.

“We’re expecting that airline travel will be most impacted,” she said. “People will start traveling a little closer to home to stretch that gasoline. I expect that we will still have fairly high demand all over the state. I think it really depends family to family on their financial circumstances, how much their travel is constrained.”

Varella says there are other ways people may be able to keep their vacation plans. Those include staying at a less expensive hotel and eating fewer meals out.

“We’re expecting to see all sorts of belt-tightening,” she said. 

The high gas prices come at a time when the pandemic is easing, and people are wanting to get out.

“Fifty-nine percent of people in the United States are reporting this is now affecting their travel plans,” Varella said. “Interestingly, 44 percent of people said COVID affected their travel planning. So, even more people feel constrained by high gas prices than they did by COVID restrictions.”

Varella says she’s optimistic that this is high gas prices are not going to shut down businesses. However, she said how hard it gets depends on how long this lasts.

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With soaring gas prices, expert says people will stay closer to home