Dump the Pump Day encourages public transportation amid record gas prices

Thursday is National Dump the Pump Day — an occasion started 16 years ago with the aim of urging American drivers to use public transportation. And with gas prices over $5 per gallon, it’s taken on a special significance this year.

The observance was founded in 2006 by the American Public Transportation Association as a way to encourage commuters nationwide to dump the gas pump by leaving their cars at home and opting for buses or railways.

The association said the holiday is recognized by more than 100 public transit systems and organizations across the United States. Some cities offer discounted rides to mark the holiday while others hold educational events to highlight the services they provide.

“It’s a great opportunity for public transit systems to showcase the safe, convenient and reliable bus and rail services that serve people in communities of all sizes,” APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas said a few years ago.

The observance falls each year on the third Thursday in June — and this year it’s particularly relevant.

According to AAA, the national average for gas prices was about $5.01 per gallon. The average surpassed $5 for the first time a few days ago and many analysts say there probably won’t be much relief in the near future.

Demand for gasoline always increases during the summer months, and troubles at U.S. and foreign refineries have also pushed gas prices up. Russia’s war in Ukraine has also made gas in the United States more expensive.

The most expensive gas in the United States is found in California, where the average is $6.43 per gallon, according to AAA. Gasoline is currently selling for more than $5 per gallon in almost half of all states.

President Joe Biden has made several moves intended to ease prices at the pump, including the release of millions of barrels of oil from the strategic reserve and authorizing the sale of E15 — a more fuel-efficient gasoline blend that contains a larger amount of ethanol — during the summer months.

Other holidays and observances for June 16, 2022, include Bloomsday, Corpus Christi, Fresh Veggies Day, International Day of Family Remittances, International Day of the African Child, Ladies Day (Basketball), National Career Nursing Assistants Day, National Fudge Day, No Orange Clothes Day, Recess at Work Day, Wish Fulfillment Day, World Sea Turtle Day and World Tapas Day.