Hampton Roads travelers are paying more to fly and drive as gas prices hit highest levels in 7 years

Posted at 11:34 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 23:57:43-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – For drivers hitting the road, the rising gas prices are hard to ignore.

“It’s too high right now,” said Alvonte Lawton of Norfolk. “They need to bring the prices down. I just spent almost $4 for one gallon, so I ain’t messing with that.”

Prices jumped Friday by an extra .04 cents. Some gas stations hit almost $3.30.

Robert Reardon of Norfolk is feeling the pinch.

“This is awful - really, it is,” said Reardon. “$46. Oh my gosh. I never spent more than $25 on a full tank until this past three months.”

Drivers are now paying the most at the pump in seven years.

Holly Dalby, the public affairs director for AAA Tidewater Virginia, said the rising cost of crude oil worldwide is driving the increase in gas prices.

“The price of crude is over $82 a barrel today, and it hasn't hit $80 since 2014,” Dalby said. “The price of crude oil actually makes up 50% to 60% of the cost at the pump.”

People aren’t just paying more at the pump. Airfare is also climbing as travel soars.

“I’ve noticed it has been going up; it changes next day, even,” said Heidi Joy Delacruz of Norfolk. “I’ve got a trip planned to New Orleans and then the next day, I saw it jumped $100 the next day, so really trying to plan ahead now.”

Planning ahead and booking the plane ticket now for Thanksgiving is the way to go, according to Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport Executive Director Mike Giardino.

He said high demand in air travel coupled with a nationwide pilot shortage are just some reasons for those rising costs.

“In general, overall, there’s a lack of inventory both flights and seats,” said Giardino. “There's fewer aircraft flying, and that just has to do with COVID in general. Pilots and crews were laid off during COVID. You can't just get back in the cockpit and start flying again. There's training that needs to be done and all that stuff is calculated into that, so it's not a workforce that can just turn around and go back to the job. It needs to get retrained, equipment needs to get back in service.”

In the air or at the pump, the rising prices aren’t stopping some from moving forward with travel plans.

Alfred-Jamal Watson of Lynchburg doesn’t think the $3.29 price tag for gas is too high.

“It’s regular,” he said. “Once the gas prices hit $5 that’s kind of my cap.”

Robert Reardon is moving forward with Thanksgiving travel plans on the road.

“We’re not going to stop,” Reardon said. “We’re just going to cut back on something else maybe.”

In some places around the country people are paying more than $5 for a gallon of gas.

According to AAA, a shortage of truck drivers to get the fuel to the pumps, is contributing to higher prices.

Related: The reason why gas prices are high right now