Labor Day travelers brace for busier roads, higher gas prices

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People at the pumps are shelling out more but some point out things could be much worse.

The numbers are soaring toward a three-year high, but travel experts say drivers are willing to pay the price this Labor Day weekend.

That's when, they say, we typically switch from the summer blend to winter blend fuels.

AAA says the average price of gas in the state has risen by more than a dime to $2.41 a gallon, reflecting interruptions in fuel supplies.

Including the change in gas prices in Utah during the past week, prices yesterday were 35.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 10.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

"It went up a little bit, but not as insane as it was a couple years ago when it went above $3 a gallon", Donelson said as she pumped gas at the Sunoco.

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Statewide, the average cost was $2.37 on Friday.

But a network of gas refineries in the Chicago area have the capacity to maintain supplies in the Coulee Region, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for price tracker GasBuddy.com in Chicago.

AAA demoted the Labor Day weekend in 2015 and no longer guesstimates the number of travelers as it does other holidays.

Utah, UT, August 27- Average retail gasoline prices in Utah have risen 0.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.61/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,171 gas outlets in Utah.

"It will probably increase another ten, maybe even twenty cents here within the next week", Josh Carrasco, a spokesman for AAA said.

Labor Day travel is usually the lowest among the three major summer holidays, behind Independence Day with 44.2 million travelers this year and Memorial Day with 39.3 million travelers. "As we get toward the latter part of September and all the refineries get back to normal, we'll see it go down again".

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