Posts Tagged ‘Southern California’

As Southern California  gas and diesel prices climb past $4 per gallon, some snowbirds in fuel-guzzling recreational vehicles say the rising costs could keep them closer to home.

They include Larry and Vivian Wiebe, who drive each year to the valley from Alberta in their RV and are parked at the Palm Springs Oasis RV Resort in Cathedral City.

Fuel prices have risen about a dollar a gallon since the couple spent $579 on gasoline in November to make the 1,500-mile trip. Now, they’re faced with paying considerably more to get back home.

“It’s a strain. (But) we have to get back,” Larry Wiebe said.

If prices stay this high, the Wiebes said they may visit the Coachella Valley every other year instead of annually.

The price spike came late enough last year that it didn’t hurt local RV park occupancy, operators say. But they’re watching those prices closely and are worried that gloomy predictions of $5 gas will lead many RV owners to leave their rigs in the driveway.

“Are we concerned? Yes,” said Greg Sidoroff, vice president of Sunland RV Resorts, which operates Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert. “We just hope that our great guest service and marketing efforts will carry us through.”

“We’ve had a few cancelations across the system, but not a great panic as the last time,” Sidoroff added, referring to 2008, when prices at some California gas pumps hit $5 a gallon.

That $5 mark is the “psychological barrier” that keeps many RVs off the road, he said.

For the return trip to Alberta, the Wiebes plan to prepare meals instead of spending at restaurants along the way to help offset costs.

“We won’t be eating out, we just have to buy gas,” said Anna Calvert, also of Alberta.

Full Story & Photo…

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