By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Labor Day weekend is the last big travel weekend of the summer.

And it’s coming at a time when gas prices here and across the country are on the rise.

AAA said the national gas price average is the highest of the year at $2.52 a gallon.

In Minnesota it’s $2.41.

(credit: CBS)

“It seems like when things happens in the world, boom, instantly that’s where they shoot, right to the pumps,” said Joel Mather.

Mather has seen it all before. He’s the owner of Joel’s Lawn and Snow in Minneapolis. Gas prices have gone up about 12 cents in the city within the past week, pumping a little more money out of Joel’s pocketbook.

“We need gas. Our machines need gas. We got to get the work done, you know. I just hope it doesn’t go way out of control,” said Mather.

It’s a sentiment shared by business owners and weekend travelers.

“We’ve seen prices rising since about the Fourth of July because, of course, this is the heart of the summer travel season,” said Gail Weinholzer of AAA.

And, of course, Hurricane Harvey has played a role as well. A devastating storm more than a thousand miles away does have an impact on gas prices here.

“Harvey is having a significant impact on fuel prices across the nation. Not as significantly in the Upper Midwest where we do get our refinery fuel from places like Coates, Minnesota and Joliet, Illinois,” said Weinholzer.

The Department of Energy released a million barrels of fuel on Thursday in an attempt to keep prices from rising too fast. Weinholzer said Minnesotans can expect to see prices increase through September. But they should still stay below the national average.

“It is significant but in context with what the folks down south are dealing with, we don’t have a lot to complain about,” said Weinholzer.

AAA said that slight increase we will see this month should end by October.

That’s when, they say, we typically switch from the summer blend to winter blend fuels.

And there will be less people on the roadways as the warm weather travel season will be over.

John Lauritsen