Higher Temps, Higher Gas Prices in the Plains
Time is running out for travelers who want to spend the Labor Day weekend in Nebraska and Iowa publicly owned campgrounds, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Nearly all reservable campsites in the state are already booked, said Jim Fuller, a spokesman for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
And nonreservable sites with electrical hookups will probably be filled by today (Aug. 29), he said.
“We are also getting a number of campers on nonelectrical and primitive sites. The prospect of warm weather will make campsites extremely attractive at lake areas,” Fuller said.
Iowa parks also are filling fast, said Kevin Szcodronski, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“People just don't miss spending these three-day weekends in our parks,” Szcodronski said. “It's going to be hot and we are going to be busy, so having patience and being respectful of your neighbors will be important.”
No relief until the weekend
It’s going to stay hot in the Omaha area until Sunday, when temperatures should start to moderate.
The National Weather Service said Omaha is expected to hit 98 degrees today and 99 on Friday. Both readings would match records for those dates.
AAA Travel projects a busy weekend nationwide, with 34.1 million Americans going 50 miles or more from home during the holiday period.
That would be a 4.2% increase from the 32.7 million who traveled last year and would be the most Labor Day travelers since 2008.
The expected increase is due to a positive economic outlook and optimism in the housing market, said Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO.
Of those traveling, AAA expects that 85% will reach their destination by car and 8% will travel by air.
Gas Prices Higher
Those traveling by car could notice prices for some gasoline blends starting to creep higher.
Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa, Okla., will no longer ship 87 octane regular gasoline to its Iowa and Nebraska terminals.
Instead, the pipeline operator will start shipping 84 octane fuel, which can be blended with more expensive 91 octane fuel to produce the 87 octane regular product. The change takes effect Sept. 15.
Meanwhile, the cost for ethanol-blended gas — purchased by an estimated 82 percent of motorists — is expected to remain about the same.
The bad news for some consumers is that the 87 octane regular fuel without ethanol will probably cost more at the pump. The price for 91 octane premium without ethanol also could spike.
The change is being driven by pipeline customers, including refiners, petroleum traders and petroleum marketers.
They want greater flexibility to mix products and more uniformity across states, said Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine.
Allowing them to blend their own fuel mixtures increases efficiency and reduces the risk of a shortage, Heine said.
Motorists can also expect state troopers in Nebraska and Iowa to be out in force through Monday, in part to enforce drunken driving laws.
Nebraska troopers will put in overtime hours due to a nearly $28,000 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety. It's part of the “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose” enforcement campaign.
“You can expect to see extra troopers out on the road during the special enforcement, as they work to help motorists reach their destination safely,” said Col. David Sankey, superintendent of the State Patrol.
The Iowa State Patrol will be participating in the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown over the holiday.