Memorial Day plans affected by fuel prices

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Jeff Godfrey of Cleburne, Texas, pumps gas at a gas station in south Clovis on his way through town. Godfrey and his family were heading to Prescott, Ariz., for an art show where he will be displaying his art in.

By Keely McDowell: CNJ staff writer

Record fuel prices have altered Memorial Day travel plans for residents in Clovis and across the country.

AAA is predicting that fewer people will be traveling this Memorial Day holiday weekend as the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Clovis rose to a record $3.94 on Thursday, up 19 cents from two days ago.

“I can’t go out of town, so we have to stay here cooped up in Clovis, said Adam Gonzales as he filled up at a gas stationed Thursday at Wal-Mart. We were planning on going to Ute Lake, but not now.”

Rich Wakeman also said he changed his plans.

“I’m pretty upset,” Wakeman said. “I stopped driving as much a year ago. I changed my Fourth of July plans. I was going to go to Phoenix, but I’m not now.”

Air fares are expected to rise 8 percent above last year’s prices during Memorial Day weekend, and car rental rates will go up $14 more per day compared to last year, according to the AAA travel projections.

“With gas up, people don’t travel like they used to,” said Daniel Coleman III, branch manager of the Enterprise car rental on First Street. “We get more calls because of airline tickets being up, but they still don’t make the reservation. It’s not the price of the cars, it’s putting gas into the cars. Once you do that you’ve doubled the price. People just don’t want to or can’t pay that kind of money.”

The national average is above $3.83 a gallon, according to AAA. Some analysts predict gas will break past $4 as early as next week.