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That venerable Volkswagon bus or the pickup with the sticker-covered shell may be proud symbols of the vagabond elite. But with gas prices soaring, keeping such beasts running could push road-tripping climbers even closer to dirtbag status.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, the Energy Information Administration said last month that the national average price of gasoline would not dip below $2.60 per gallon this summer, even without a devastating storm season such as the one the United States experienced last year, and that severe storms would guarantee a price explosion. And while everyday work commutes around-town commutes sip away at the gas tank, the beloved climber road trip, a summer staple for many, guzzles.
Example: A hypothetical climber embarking on a roadie from Salt Lake City to Yosemite is looking at about a 700-mile haul, each way, assuming a direct path with few side trips. Just before Memorial Day, the national average price of gasoline hovered at around $2.86 per gallon. Assuming a standard climber wagon gets 25 miles per gallon, at that price this voyage would cost at least $160. In 2005, when gas averaged $2.09 per gallon, that same trek would have cost about $117.
For those of you keeping score at home, the difference in fuel prices equals about the cost of one cam (or, say, about six quickdraws or one down-cambered bouldering slipper). Of course, this relies on a stable ideal — as any wanderer knows, it’s almost impossible to find gas at $2.86 a gallon in, for instance, California. Prices as of the end of May in the Gold Rush State clocked in between $2.99 and $3.79 per gallon.
However, one thing that wasn’t expected to change, despite rising fuel costs, is Americans’ desire for travel. AAA estimated that 37.6 million people would travel over Memorial Day weekend, with 84 percent of them traveling by car. This is a slight increase from last year.Comment on this story