Driving to the Fourth | VailDaily.com

Driving to the Fourth

Don Rogers

Things are rolling along so well in America the AAA predicts that this Fourth of July will set travel records.The auto club expects 40.3 million Americans to drive 50 or more miles for the three-day weekend, a 2.8 percent increase over last year. More travelers will fly for this holiday than they did last year, 4.2 percent more. Of course, these are all predictions, not quite fact yet. But AAA projects our traveling will exceed even Thanksgiving this year.And we’ll spend quite a bit more for gas. Oil prices this week rose $60 a barrel, the highest ever. A USA Today chart shows a steady climb from $49 on May 23 to over $60 Monday before dipping slightly.Between the demand worldwide for oil, thanks in large part lately to China’s big boom, and refineries running full tilt, prices are not likely to go down. USA Today’s report Tuesday cites oil prices rising 39 percent since the end of 2004 and 67 percent from a year ago.Yes, adjusting for inflation, it’s all still short of 1981, when oil cost $80 a barrel using today’s dollars. You have to wonder how soon a new record will arrive at this rate. The princes must be very, very pleased indeed.And you have to wonder when the soaring cost of fuel starts putting the brakes on our economy.Meantime, though, we’ll be celebrating this three-day weekend like never before.That, along with the continuing weak dollar and precipitation, bodes well for the Vail Valley.While half of us are moaning about how terribly wrong everything has gone – mainly that President Bush’s fault, incidentally – we’re all more or less rocking along like never before.It’s a little weird, like never paying more for gas YET never driving more than now.Vail, Colorado

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