Gas prices highest ever on Labor Day

Published On: Sep 03 2012 02:41:18 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 03 2012 07:43:05 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Drivers who filled up their gas tanks this Labor Day weekend paid more for gas than they have any other Labor Day weekend in history.

According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular gas hit $3.80 on Monday. That's up 14 cents from the same time last year.

Still AAA expected about a half-million more people to hit the roads over the holiday weekend.

Travelers in northeast Florida said the money they would normally spend on food and entertainment was going in the tank, meaning fewer stops and more packed lunches instead of restaurants.

The Fightmaster family planned their road trip from Beavercreek, Ohio, to St. Augustine more than a year ago and said rising gas prices have meant a different kind of trip.

"We packed what we're going to eat because it's too expensive to stop," Art Fightmaster said. "In the old days, we'd stop in a lot more restaurants and take a little more sightseeing on the way. It's just too expensive (now)."

Before this year, 2008 held the title for the highest gas prices during any other Labor Day weekend. Back then, Florida and Georgia's state averages were $3.69 and $3.61, respectively.

AAA says supply issues, both domestic and foreign, are behind the jump.

The Hendersons didn't have as long trip as the Fightmasters, driving from Orlando to Savannah, Ga. While they admit it was expensive to fill up, the higher prices didn't keep them off the road.

"When we have plans to go we go," Carolyn Henderson said. "'Cause our daughter-in-law is moving, and we wanted to see her before she left."

AAA says about 28.2 million people would be traveling by car this year despite the rise in gas prices.

Henry Johnson, of Flagler Beach, had a family reunion in Georgia he couldn't miss. But as a disabled veteran on a fixed income, he hopes relief is on the way.

"Something has to be done," Johnson said. "I don't know what it is, I don't know who can do it, but something's got to be done."

There may be something to look forward to when it comes to gas prices. AAA says they typically start to fall after Labor Day. That's when demand goes down and winter-blend fuel production begins.