National News

Holiday travelers face rising gas prices, gridlock

Posted May 24, 2018 3:54 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:20 a.m. EDT

— Motorists in North Carolina will hit the roads and highways for holiday travel -- just as gas prices around the state are approaching prices not seen around the Tar Heel state for several years.

Nearly 42 million Americans were expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, most by car.

According to AAA, gas prices are the highest going into the holiday weekend since 2014.

"Around this time, I know they are going to go up, and there's nothing I can do about it," Delisa Cotton said. "I have to drive, so I have to pay."

In North Carolina, motorists were seeing regular unleaded gas prices around $2.79 and higher, prompting many of them to change their habits to save money on fuel costs.

"We do car pools with our employees so we have multiple people in vehicles," said Ryan Albritton of Greenville.

Chris Keller said she plans her trips more carefully so as to conserve fuel.

"I just look at my calendar and schedule and only do essential trips," she said.

In order to save at the pump, experts say motorists should slow down, try to avoid construction and make sure their vehicle tires are properly inflated.

Another thing drivers should avoid, experts say, is filling their gas tank too full.

Having gas in your tank is always a great thing, but add too much to your car and it'll do more harm than good.

A nearly 20-year veteran of the automotive industry, Chris Butt of DLS Tire Center in Kansas City, Mo. knows all too well the harm topping of your tank can do.

"If you top it off too much with your emission tubes and everything you have on there, that fuel connection goes into a fuel cannister," Butt said.

That excess fuel, Butt says, could cause several codes to light up on your dashboard. Your car may not run smoothly, and you could have to replace the charcoal cannister on older vehicles, something that could cost thousands of dollars.

Butt says there is a simple list drivers should check off before hitting the road for Memorial Day travel.

"For starters oil change, topping off all fluids, checking the air pressure in the tires. I know with gas prices going up, air filters are one of the big keys," Butt said.

Air filters are relatively inexpensive and can help a great deal with gas mileage. Many automotive shops are busy around the holidays, so Butt says be sure to act fast.

"I had this lady call me last night at 4:30, 'could I get my oil changed? I'm going out of town at 7 in the morning.' People, don't wait a day before," Butt said.