Record prices at the pump are giving residents of north-central Ohio another opportunity to explore nearby attractions this summer rather than driving for a far-away vacation.
The fuel cost has more than doubled in the past two years, according to data provided by AAA.
As of Friday afternoon, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.593, setting a new record high.
The record national average price for a gallon of diesel was set Wednesday at $5.577.
As of Friday, Ohio drivers were paying an average of $4,469 for regular unleaded gasoline and $5,248 for diesel.
Average gasoline prices on Friday were $4,472 in Crawford County, $4,474 in Richland County and $4,479 in Ashland County.
The 2020 Memorial Day price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline averaged $1,989 in Ohio, according to AAA, and the national average then was $1,959.
Local attractions all summer long
Residents have gotten used to keeping their vacations short and local during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to Miranda Jones, executive director of the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce.
Fortunately for residents of North Central Ohio, the area has plenty of attractions to offer.
Each month, she looks forward to the first Friday event at Bucyrus and the third Friday event at Galleon.
“And then fireworks in several municipalities,” Jones said.
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She is also a fan of the Crawford Park District as well as the various golf courses and Frisbee courses in the area.
“There are some hidden gems,” Jones said. “There are always outdoor activities.”
Camping and canoeing are popular
High gas prices have already increased the popularity of camping and canoe trips this summer, according to Jenny Wobbecke, whose family owns the Mohican Wilderness Campground just outside Loudonville.
“We have seen a huge increase in the number of reserved sites,” Wobbecke said. “They are booked earlier and they are booked for longer periods.”
Mohican Wilderness has been attracting campers from all over Ohio since the 1960s.
Generations of loyal vacationers have made camp their summer getaway, but the past few years have been busier than ever, thanks first to the pandemic and now to rising transportation costs.
“People come to the Mohican area because of what we offer here,” Wobbecke said.
It is less than a two hour drive from downtown Cleveland and Columbus to the peaceful banks of the Mohican River.
The Wilderness offers camping, canoeing, horseback riding, ziplining, miniature golf and more.
“If they just want to go on a day trip, we completely understand,” Wobbecke said. “We are feeling the effects of rising gas prices like everyone else.”
Farm fees will be felt at dinner
While consumers can watch their spending when it comes to things like taking vacations, they won’t be able to avoid rising food costs.
The higher cost of fuel used in food production will inevitably be passed on to everyone, according to Jason Hartschuh, Ohio State University extension agent for Crawford County.
“Fuel prices are definitely on everyone’s mind,” Hartschuh said. “It’s going to increase the cost of growing an acre of crops.”
After tillage, planting, spraying and harvesting, approximately four gallons of diesel are used per acre of farmland.
“It’s going to add up when you think that last year we were under $2 a gallon for diesel,” Hartschuh said.
It’s just another blow to farmers who have already seen higher prices for seeds, fertilizers and herbicides.
“Certainly not to help” farmers
“If they were already in trouble, that definitely won’t help,” Hartschuh said. “I don’t know if that would be the final straw for anyone. It won’t make things any easier, that’s for sure.”
And farmers are only the first step in the food production process. Once the crops are harvested, they must be transported to a factory to be packaged, then to the stores where they are sold.
“You’re pretty much guaranteed to see higher food prices,” Hartschuh said. “You think of a driving truck producing on the road, it’s going to do whatever it can to pass that cost on to the consumer. I would expect to see higher prices at grocery stores moving forward.”