COLUMBUS, Ohio – About a million Ohioans hit the road for a long holiday weekend enjoying higher speed limits, but also seeing higher prices at the gas pump and the grocery store.
The speed limits on certain stretches of rural interstate in Ohio was raised to 70 mph on Monday and, while gas prices were lower than last month, they were about 3 cents a gallon higher than a year ago.
The average price in Columbus flirted with $4 a gallon in June because of maintenance issues at refineries in Indiana and Illinois.
“Those two facilities are back on line and got our prices back in gear with everybody else in the country,” Bill Purpura, of AAA Ohio, said.
The statewide average price of$3.33 a gallon Wednesday morning was 15 cents cheaper than the national average. Ohio also boasted cheaper gas than surrounding states where prices ranged from $3.35 in Kentucky to $3.52 in West Virginia.
“Gas prices remain high and may not drop too much further in July because crude oil remains relatively expensive. Factors such as increased summertime demand and the impending hurricane season also could result in higher pump prices for motorists,” said AAA national spokesman Avery Ash.
The American Farm Bureau Federation this year launched an informal price survey to tally the cost of the Independence Day picnic and found the new price tag is less than $6 per person, but still more than Thanksgiving.
The group says the average cost of a summertime picnic including hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad and lemonade comes to $57.20 for 10 people, or $5.72 per person.
The menu also includes baked beans, watermelon, corn chips, chocolate milk, ketchup and mustard.
The trade group produces an annual informal price survey for Thanksgiving fare. Last year, the group said a turkey dinner with all the trimmings would cost about $49.48 for 10, or slightly less than $5 per person.
According to a survey by VISA, Midwesterners plan to spend an average of $36 per family on fireworks, compared with $28 nationwide.
-From staff and wire reports