Memorial day marks the first pandemic gathering for some families — but beware of gas prices on the road

Local News

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Many Virginians will be heading out of town to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and reflect on loved ones who’ve given their lives for the country. However, if you’re driving, it will cost you. AAA says drivers should expect to pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2014.

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was sometimes tough to find gas at all during the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack. Now, gas stations are back in business — but they’re not cheap.

On the holiday last year, gas averaged at $1.75 a gallon in Virginia. Compare that to this Tuesday’s state average, at $2.93 a gallon.

Richmond resident Amani Williams said she thinks “people are raising these prices just to raise them.”

AAA said prices are increasing, in part, because of the demand. They recommend fueling up and avoiding the busiest driving times, like Thursday and Friday afternoons.

According to AAA, these are Virginia’s average Memorial Day gas prices in recent years:

  • 2020-$1.75
  • 2019-$2.57
  • 2018-$2.76
  • 2017-$2.15
  • 2016-$2.16
  • 2015-$2.51
  • 2014-$3.48

On Tuesday, 8News saw families gearing up for the unofficial kick off to summer, which is also the first holiday in more than a year when the majority of people may feel comfortable hitting the roads and skies again.

“You have to get out and experience things and just be safe while you do it,” said Williams.

Many folks will be heading out this weekend, but 8News also spoke with more than a dozen who don’t plan on leaving at all. They gave a variety of reasons, like the kids still being in school or that they have to work.

Some said they’re just not comfortable traveling yet.

This Memorial day, Patricia Gray will see some family for the first time since the pandemic started. She said her son is flying in from Atlanta and her sister is driving in from Ohio.

Gray said she lost several loved ones within the last year and a half but still hasn’t been able to celebrate their lives with the rest of her family because they’d been avoiding traveling to stay safe.

“You don’t have that time to get together and process what you’re feeling. The grief that you’re feeling. So it’s been a struggle,” she said.

She told 8News her family, now all fully vaccinated, will finally grieve together safely in-person this weekend. “Getting together will probably help us to heal a little bit.”

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