Well, it wouldn't be a summer holiday weekend in Minnesota without gas prices being high, would it? At least, though, while gas prices may higher than last year, we can take some solace in the fact that they're about 8-cents cheaper here in Minnesota than in other parts of the country!

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I know, small consolation, isn't it?  According to KSTP-TV, gas prices in Minnesota as we head into the 4th of July holiday are up about 20-cents from last year, but are still about 8-cents lower than the national average.

If I recall correctly, gas prices usually seem to spike around Memorial Day-- when analysts usually blame the "switch over to the summer driving season" for higher prices.  This year, though, the price of gas seemed to stay relatively steady around Memorial Day but now, the "instability in Iraq and Syria" seems be be getting the blame for rising prices.

(As a side note, I LOVE to hear the excuses analysts and oil companies use to justify our higher prices at the pump. I almost think they pin all the possible reasons on a board and then throw darts to determine which reason they're going to use. Although, when there is actual political unrest in the Middle East (come to think of it, when ISN'T there?!?), they LOVE to trot that out as the reason we're paying more here in southeastern Minnesota.)

If you're heading up north this holiday weekend, you're not alone. Because the 4th of July falls on a Friday this year, AAA-Minnesota estimates 41 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend-- that's the most since 2007.

My wife and I (along with Chance, the beagle) will be hitting the road Thursday to head up to our family's cabin in Willow River, so we'll be among those 41 million fellow Americans hitting the road this holiday. Travel safely-- and here's hoping you don't have to break the bank when you fill-up!