Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Will gas prices affect your summer vacation?


Like most people, I am watching the gasoline prices rise and wondering how high they will go by summer travel time.

A temporary moratorium on the federal gas tax is now a topic of the presidential campaign. Obama is against, Clinton is for--if the oil companies pay for it via a wind fall profits tax (that just means they will pass it onto us), and I believe McCain is just for the moratorium with no charge to the oil companies.

This morning I caught a bit of Vicki McKenna's radio show and some callers thought the 18.5 cent/gallon tax moratorium would influence what their family did this summer. 

So far, the higher gasoline prices have not seemed to alter people's summer travel plans. At least it appears that way to me. We are planning another family pilgrimage to Yellowstone National Park this summer. I made the mistake of making reservations too late, however. (Who would think mid September of 2008 was too late?) I got all the days I wanted except ONE and have been trying to get that date at Old Faithful budget cabins ever since.

I call the reservation line almost every day and check the website. Nothing so far for my location and day. But today I noticed for the first time that there were 3 other locations listed as an alternative. Coincidence or are people starting to bail out on their plans because of gas prices?

Only time will tell.

(Another wrinkle might be that because of the low value of the dollar, foreigners are snatching up any American vacancies. There are a lot of Asians who come to west coast American National Parks on vacation.) 

Of course I am hoping that gas prices will level off by the time we leave. They did last year at this time when the price per gallon was an unprecedented $3.29/gal or so.

It is almost a tradition that we are on vacation during a gas crisis. I was out in Colorado in 1973 and never hit a shortage or line. My husband and I were on a 7,000 mile, 5 1/2 week National Park camping trip odyssey during 1979's gas crunch--no lines, high prices, or troubles then. We were in California during the Hurricane Katrina gas price spike too. I guess we aren't going to let, gulp, $4.00+/gal stop us this summer either*.

Will the price of gas or the moratorium change your plans this summer?

* I can rationalize the gas cost somewhat because we are there for a long enough time to justify the cost of getting there. The price per gallon is usually lower once out of Wisconsin. Plus, flying and renting a car is still much more expensive than driving to this location.


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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield
Vicki Mckenna


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