Ahh, mid-March! Spring break! A rite of passage for so many. For college students, a chance to go somewhere warm and get a little crazy. For families, a chance for a road trip to somewhere fun, maybe a few days on a sandy beach, or a Disney World.

With the cloud of COVID and the term "global pandemic" making fewer and fewer news appearances, this, 2022, should be the year we again vacation without fear. Should is the keyword here.

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You see, this wackadoodle named Vladimir Putin invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine. Thousands are dead in fighting that, with each passing day, seems to only escalate.

The horrific stories of Russian planes bombing maternity wards are horrifying. As a result of the actions is Putin, and the Russian military, the United States has smacked stiff sanctions on Russia in an attempt to cripple their economy into submission. One such step taken by the U.S. was a full ban on all Russian oil. If you want to study the political aspects of this ban, check out this article from the AP.

As a direct result of both this and the conflict in general, gas prices in the U.S. have skyrocketed. Right now, as I write this, the cheapest gas in Cedar Rapids, according to Gas Buddy, is $3.89 a gallon. In Waterloo, it's $3.95. Oh, and Iowa is one of the cheaper gas states right now. Gas in Chicago right now is at $4.99 for regular unleaded.

Photo by Camille Minouflet on Unsplash
Photo by Camille Minouflet on Unsplash

So, let's just say it's $4.00. Last year at this exact time, the state average in Iowa was a mere $2.80 for regular unleaded, according to AAA.

As a result of sky-high gas costs, I've talked to several people that have scrapped their spring break road trip travel plans. Instead of blowing nearly four bucks (or more, in most other states), why not stay closer to home.

As we've been saying since 2020, maybe next year. This time, it's for a totally different reason.

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