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'Definitely wanted to go somewhere short' | High gas prices alter some Independence Day travel plans

AAA anticipated car travel volume would break previous records, estimating 42 million would opt to drive this Independence Day.

HAMPTON, Va. — It's a sign that summer has officially arrived.

Crashing waves on an Independence Day holiday weekend, means the sound of summer vacation and travel. But still-high gas prices may have changed exactly how far travelers are willing to go.

"People aren’t as eager when you say, ‘You trying to come down?’ It’s not a, 'Let’s do it.' It’s a, 'Well, we’ll get back to you,'" Forrest Hall said. 

In Hampton Roads, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline cost almost $4.80 one week ago. By Independence Day, that average dropped by roughly 13 cents. Ahead of the holiday weekend, AAA predicted 47.9 million people would travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of 3.7% over 2021.

A small change like that didn't deter travelers from driving altogether, but it may have altered where exactly they drove to.

Hall, who lives in Virginia Beach, opted to meet his mother-in-law at Buckroe Beach on Monday instead of having her commute all the way to Virginia Beach from Richmond. He said a big consideration was the gas it would've taken her to complete the entire trip. 

“She’s traveling by herself. She’s not splitting the cost whereas, maybe before our aunt would’ve come, maybe a cousin or two, they would’ve split the difference on that gas tank," Hall said. 

It's a similar mindset for Brenda Conyers, visiting Buckroe Beach from Maryland as part of a weekend girls' trip. They chose the Hampton beach because of its closer proximity. 

"For the most part yes, we always try to get to a beach somewhere, and most times we go down to the Carolina beaches but because of the price of gas, we decided to come down here," she said. 

Statewide, a gallon of regular now costs $4.61, which a AAA spokesperson said is down one cent from the day prior. 

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