Motorists hit the road despite rising gas prices

MILWAUKEE -- For many families, Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer and one of the last times they head up North to their cabins.

“It's the last weekend before the kids go back to school,” said Jill Braun.

“We’re going to Three Lakes and Lake Julia,” saidTrish Ullrich.

More than 700,000 Wisconsinites are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the holiday, which is up almost two percent from last year.  Gas prices, however, are on the rise.  The average in Milwaukee Friday was $3.95 a gallon.  Some places were closer to $4.00.

“This is the highest we've ever seen at this time of year,” said Gregg Laskoski, Senior Petroleum Analyst for

He says motorists are seeing a double whammy when paying at the pump.  Pair the typical holiday spike with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, and it's created the perfect storm for all time highs.

“Coming to the Gulf Coast where it has oil infrastructure, that’s forced the closing of at least 10 or 12 refineries.  And that in itself has an impact that is far reaching,” said Laskoski.

“I'm putting $10 in there and I get 2 gallons of gas.  That's not good,” said driver Thurston Smith.

Pain at the pump has prevented some, like Smith, from going the distance.

“I was going to Chicago, but it's $4.48 there.  I can't afford that.  That is too much,” he said.

But for the most part, drivers say no matter how high gas gets, they are planning to go the distance because the experience is worth the price.

“We're not happy that gas prices are where they are, but they're not going to stop us from going,” said Ullrich.  “We love it up there and it's the price you pay for doing something great.”

The silver lining here is that industry analysts expect to see gas prices start to moderate in about a week or two, as oil and gas companies gradually restart their Gulf operations.