It’s a thumbs up for all modes of travel this Memorial Day weekend, as “Nearly 44 Million Travelers Leaving Town for Unofficial Start of Summer,” the American Automobile Association reports.  Furthermore, AAA calculates that a million more Americans are traveling fifty miles or more this weekend versus five years ago, which “signals a very busy summer travel season ahead.”

Source: AAA

Whether driving, busing, flying, cruising, or riding the rails, virtually all the energy comes from gasoline or diesel.  Additionally, with the U.S. being a net exporter of petroleum, much of this fuel is home-grown.  EVs?  Hardly worth calculating, with many if not most battery cars and trucks staying in the garage to avoid uncertain and regular recharging.

Thirty-two states produce crude oil, led by Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, and Oklahoma, with most of the oil supplying the nation’s nearly 200,000 service stations being refined along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts.

Hitting the open road is part of Americana, and never more so than during Memorial Day weekend.  It erases distance and brings people together in the great outdoors, as well as at leading destination resorts.

The travel boom is a reminder to politicians that petroleum abundance is a quality-of-life issue, and that fuel affordability and availability matter.  Free-market entrepreneurship is being hampered by literally hundreds of government interventions that reduce supply and increase cost.  Consequently, average motor fuel prices today of $3.60 per gallon are one-third higher than in 2016 and 2020 of $2.25 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

But with an election coming up, the current administration wants to appease restless consumers. So for the summer peak, the government is unloading one million barrels of gasoline from the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve. The time horizon of politicians, after all, is the next election.

Source: J. Allen Brooks, Energy Musings, from DOE data

Running out of oil?  No, we continue to find more than is consumed.  Declining air quality?  False, the criteria air pollutants continue to fall even as oil usage climbs.  Security of supply?  Plenty of home-grown oil and gas to draw upon, with the rest coming from Canada.

“Happy Motoring,” an Exxon commercial used to say. “Let’s Go!” as Shell advertised. “A full tank of freedom,” as Marathon proudly stated.  Fear not, travel with gusto.  Get your kicks on Route 66 or wherever the open road takes you this Memorial Day weekend.

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