SALT LAKE CITY – Due to rising energy costs, Utahans are paying premiums on travel and transportation modes.
“It was occupied before the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. We have seen stressors at the pump before – the price of oil was rising due to increased demand and decreased supply,” said AAA spokesman John Treanor.
Treanor noted Monday that the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.25. In Utah, the average was $4.34. Gasoline prices are highest in Kane County at $4.71 and lowest in Daggett County at $4.20.
“The majority of people said that when gas goes over $4 a gallon they would make changes to their daily lives, but few would make changes to planned trips,” Treanor said. “People who wanted to hit the road, especially for vacation, whether it was spring break or summer, were going to do it, no matter the cost.”
Treanor warned travelers could also see airfare increases if they haven’t already.
“You might cringe when you fill up on gas, but the reality is there are things you don’t see that are going to have an impact as well, including airline prices,” Treanor said. “During the pandemic where fewer people were flying, airlines were not buying excess fuel as they normally do, meaning they wouldn’t be buying fuel at cost. The cost is higher.
Airline industry veteran Andrew Levy, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of Avelo Airlines, says the industry is seeing an increase in demand. Due to this demand, it is possible to increase the price of the product while dealing with rising energy costs.
“Fuel is our biggest expense, so when it goes up by a third, which is what it did if you go back say four months, that’s a big deal,” Levy said. “If you see him going up to the pump, we see the same thing.”
Avelo flies from Ogden-Hinckley Airport in Burbank, California three times a week with low fares compared to competing airlines from Salt Lake City. Levy expects to see travel demand increase during the summer months. He also hopes to increase the number of flights Avelo operates from Ogden.
“We’re going to have fewer flights than we otherwise would have had if energy prices were lower,” Levy said. “By limiting capacity, this is the way to increase prices a little. But we’re talking maybe it’s $10 each way. We’re not talking $50 or $100… These aren’t the kind of price increases we’re going to see everywhere, at least not for Avelo.
Travelers on social media have expressed concern over rising fares for flights from major airlines since energy prices began to soar. Levy predicts that Avelo tickets will only increase by $5-10 in each direction.
“I don’t think those awards are here forever, but I think they’re probably here for a while and we’ll get through it,” Levy said.