When Tiffany Gosciejew of DeKalb went to fill up her gas tank Thursday at the Marathon on West Lincoln Highway, the $5.09 sticker price shocked her, but she knew it could’ve been worse.
“I even heard that the gasoline prices are going up for this weekend,” Gosciejew said. “I was told on the radio station I was listening to to get gas now, so that’s why I’m doing it.”
Gas prices again are surging in Illinois and across the nation largely because of supply chain disruption amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. It leaves some in DeKalb County to question whether the pain of spending more money at the gas pump will lead people to travel less, even as Memorial Day weekend arrives.
Industry experts such as officials at AAA said people still are traveling, but they may be approaching it differently.
“What they may be doing is traveling a shorter distance than originally planned due to the high gas prices,” said Molly Hart, a spokesperson for AAA who handles media relations for Illinois and Indiana.
In Illinois, gas is averaging almost $5 a gallon, according to AAA, although as evidenced by area residents this week, many DeKalb- and Sycamore-area gas stations report higher prices.
The average cost to fill up a vehicle with gas in the Elgin metro area, which includes DeKalb and Kane counties, tallies about $4.99 a gallon, up from $3.25 this time last year, according to GasBuddy, the leading authority on pump prices.
Mohamed Makki of DeKalb also was filling up his vehicle at Marathon. He said that when he goes to the gas station, he now pays between $50 and $60.
“I’ve been out of country almost 45 days in Africa,” Makki said. “I came back. … Everything is high.”
Matt Duffy, executive director for the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, said it’s clear that the rising gas prices are hurting business. When people have to use extra money for gas or other household staples, budgets tighten, with less being spent at area retail shops and restaurants, he said.
“It’s definitely having an effect,” Duffy said. “It’s not like with the rising gas prices, the income levels are rising at the same level. Otherwise it would be something where the dollars are evening out.”
Jeanne Meyer of DeKalb filled up her vehicle Thursday at Casey’s General Store, 1001 Annie Glidden Road, and said when the gas prices began to rise, she started riding her bike to work.
“But that’s really hard to do more than just locally,” Meyer said. “You certainly can’t get groceries that way.”
Hart encouraged travelers to leave early to avoid traffic congestion and compare gas prices whenever possible so they are prepared this holiday weekend.