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Memorial Day travel hits records at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 9:28 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -The Savanah-Hilton Head International Airport are expecting record breaking numbers of people passing through the Savannah airport the next few days. An estimated 64,000 people are expected to come and go from the airport through Monday. That’s 10,000 more compared to 2019, which was a record for the airport.

However, AAA estimates about 90 percent of people traveling this weekend will drive to their destination this weekend even with historically high gas prices for the holiday.

The national average this morning is $4.59. In South Carolina, the state average is $4.26.

In the Lowcountry, Hampton County has the most expensive gas average at $4.43

The average in Georgia is below that a $4.13 a gallon, keep in mind the gas tax is still suspended in the state and just yesterday Governor Brian Kemp extended that suspension until July 14.

In the Peach State, the average cost of gas is most expensive in Brunswick, followed by Savannah and Atlanta rounding out the top three.

Richard McGrath from Georgia Southern says that those prices are not expected to drop any time soon, mainly because a lot is triggered by the war and we won’t know how long the war will last.

Right now the demand for crude oil  is high and the supply is low which is causing a financial burden on consumers, but the oil companies are making record profits.

“From their perspective it is a short term spike and you don’t make a lot of money investing in short term spikes in the price, short term for them being a year or two,” said Richard McGrath, an economics professor at Georgia Southern. “if they don’t see the price as high and beneficial for more than a year or two, they are not spending a huge amount of money to drop in huge wells and big oil fields.”

Even though the US could increase oil output, the oil companies have to consider their profit margin versus sales volume long term.

“The demand for oil is expected to fall, we have electric vehicles coming in, we are using more renewable energy, we have a whole list of environmental initiatives that are slowly and steadily decreasing the demand for oil” McGrath said. “What that does for the oil companies in this current situation is it essentially tells them if you drill a lot of new wells, we don’t know how long they will be useful.”

Right now, most things we buy depend on crude oil or diesel fuel, with those high prices, it adds to the inflation on everything we are buying right now.

We are also seeing flight prices up right now, but despite all of that, we are not seeing an impact on the amount of people traveling this weekend.

“Gas prices are definitely challenging, this summer and this weekend, we are hoping people have planned a little bit for Memorial Day weekend and intend to spend time with families and have taken into account some of the rising prices and are able to enjoy a quality experience here in Savannah and Tybee Island,” said Erica Backus, the Visit Savannah Public Relations Director.

Give yourself plenty of time at the airport and this is a record breaking weekend for them, passing 2019. Airport officials say the parking garage has been getting full the last few weekends so make sure you arrive 2 hours before your flight to figure out parking and still catch your flight on time.

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