Travelers hit Vermont roads for holiday despite gas price spike

Vermont News

WASHINGTON (WFFF) — In an effort to lower gas prices, Pres. Joe Biden announced the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. oil reserves on Tuesday. The move comes as millions travel for Thanksgiving.

Dan Goodman, Public Affairs Manager at AAA Northern New England, said Vermonters are paying an average of around $3.44 per gallon. “Which is about $1.30 more than we were paying this time last year,” he said.

And as millions of Americans hit the road, Vermont law enforcement warns about driving safely in high-density holiday traffic. “Unfortunately, more people driving means more motor vehicle crashes,” said Paul White, with the State Highway Safety Office. “Across the United States, more than 300 people will die in a motor vehicle crash this week.”

Police say you can expect more DUI checkpoints and patrols this holiday season. And at the Williston Rest Stop on Interstate 89, one of the state’s most traveled roadways, Ken White of Milton called the high price of gas “a necessary evil.”

“No one likes to pay higher prices at the pump, but there is no way around it,” he said. “Hopefully, what the president did this morning—releasing the reserves—will help. But unfortunately, I think the higher prices are here to stay.”

AAA’s Goodman said there will be a record number of travelers flying, driving, and boarding trains to visit family and friends this week. “We are expecting a 15% increase of overall travel compared to last year,” he said.

Gathering along I-89, police warned that 2021 is shaping up to be one of the deadliest in recent years. So far this year, 65 people have lost their lives on Vermont roadways. Police say aggressive driving, speeding, impaired driving, and—most of all—not wearing a seat belt are to blame.

“If you’re gonna drink for the holidays, please drink responsibly,” Samuel Fortin said. “Don’t drink and drive.”

“And remember,” said Lt. Allen Fortin, “if you feel different, you drive different.”

Lt. Fortin wanted family members to accompany officers this year to help drive home their campaign. He says some people will resonate more, hearing it from someone without a badge. “Maybe it would hit home,” Lt. Fortin said. “It’s the message I expect in my family and I would expect people do in their families. Be responsible, that’s all we’re asking.”

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