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Potpourri: Gas Prices Deter Tourists, Not Janklow or U.S. Chamber

Once again, too many tabs clutter my browser top. Time to clear the queue!

The South Dakota Department of Tourism published a new report on gas prices last week. From 22,830 self-selecting respondents, we learn that folks take 3.6 vacations a year (really? Is that counting day trips to Sioux Falls?). Using a 1-to-10 scale, nearly 80% of respondents rated their concern about gasoline prices 7 or higher; 39% picked the full 10.

55.6% of respondents said high gasoline prices have altered or will alter their summer travel plans, thus further confounding efforts to blame decreases in Deadwood gaming revenue on South Dakota's new indoor smoking restrictions. Among those changing travel plans due to gasoline prices, the most popular alterations include looking for bargains, vacationing closer to home, and cutting back on other trip expenses.

Not changed by gasoline prices, or by prison time, or by killing a man: Bill Janklow's lead foot. South Dakota's most famous felonious former politician had a quick trip through Clay County on June 27 interrupted by an unexpected meeting with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. Janklow contributed $59 to Clay County infrastructure.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce apparently thinks higher gasoline prices are a good thing. The Chamber is launching a campaign to promote the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. The Chamber says Keystone XL boost American energy security and decrease our reliance on crude from bad dudes overseas. The Chamber completely ignores evidence from Keystone's builder TransCanada and oil market analysts that, with American demand past its peak, the real purpose of this pipeline is to ship toxic tar sands oil right across the prairie to the Gulf of Mexico, clear the "glut" of oil in the Midwest, raise the price of crude oil and gasoline, and quite probably export that Canadian oil to China.


  1. Michael Black 2011.07.31

    It's not the gas prices that will kill you, but the motel rates in the Black Hills.

  2. Roger Elgersma 2011.07.31

    Iowa got more tourism dollars before the Grand Falls casino. We talk about how great tourism is here in SD but South Dakota has always been more talk than progress.

  3. JohnKelley 2011.07.31

    Energy companies like to wrap themselves in the flag pretending their developments advance US energy self-sufficiency or independence. Yet they ignore they failed miserably at that illusory goal for generations. The goal is illusory because all the energy companies care about are profits. That is why they are working hand-over-fist to export US gas, coal, and uranium to China, Russia, and India. Read up the Casper Tribune's Energy Journal: or the July 25th edition of the High Country News (subscription required, but available at better libraries):

    Until the US ratchets up energy conservation and tamps down exports the US and energy companies will continue lip-servicing US energy self-sufficiency or independence.

  4. Mark O'Loughlen 2011.07.31


    On the flip side, I've noticed many more international tourists at my business this year compared to prevoius. I think that uptick can be attributed to a weak dollar. Just yesterday I visited with customers from Spain, Austraila, and the UK.

    I'll argue the gas prices affecting travel plans, at least in the Yellowstone area. So far, it has been a good summer season in our neck of the woods. While the official numbers show a slower June for park visitors, that was mostly due to bad weather and road closures. I think the July and August numbers will show some good increases just from what I've noticed in my unoffical traffic counts, and my longer than usual commute to work.

    I like to pick the brains of my customers when they come in. Where are they coming from, where are they going, etc. When I find people coming from the black hills area, they are much more happy here mostly because it is much less commercialized, less billboards and tourists traps, a more natural setting. People would rather see guysers and bears and not getting duped into spending money at Reptile Gardens and the Cosmos.

    For example, if my family were to go to Bear Country USA, it would cost us $32 for our pass around the loop. A three day pass to Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks is $25 per vehicle. Pretty good deal. Plus, the bears are real there...

  5. Guy 2011.08.01

    Some people never learn. You know, some "old dogs" can't be taught new!

  6. larry kurtz 2011.08.01

    cah, guggenheimer didn't ask either of my questions of the junkies today:

    Lawrence Kurtz
    Sent: Aug 1, 2011 11:16:07 AM

    Could Mr. Ellis talk about his findings on the Corps reluctance to release early because of the effects of ice on Missouri River bridges?

    Lee paper sites in Montana announced fees for online users. Is the Journal headed in that direction?


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