In recent days, she said, more hotels have decided to advertise promotional gas cards on the Ocean City website — including the Hotel Monte Carlo, the Grand Hotel and the Bedtime Inn.
"Rodney," a fictional lifeguard character who has become Ocean City's version of Ronald McDonald, has branched out into the Rodney's Roadside Assistance business.
Jones indicated that many in the hotel industry were not sure that fuel-related promotions were necessary because getting to Ocean City doesn't require that much gas.
"We have historically always had a decent amount of business when the prices are higher," she said. "It's bigger in some people's minds than it is in others'."
One of the most generous gas discounts is being offered at the Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel, which has advertised a $50 card for stays of three nights or more.
Mark Elman, the hotel's general manager, said the Clarion offered the promotion in 2008 and 2009 but dropped it in 2010, when gas prices were about $1 less per gallon than they are now. He said the promotion seems to be having the intended effect.
"We've gotten some inquiries and we've gotten some bookings, and it seems to be working," he said.
Promotion or not, the trip to Ocean City takes travelers through some of the best territory in Maryland for filling up. AAA Maryland spokeswoman Ragina Averella noted that Salisbury — on the road to the beach — has "the cheapest gas in the state" at about $3.72 a gallon.
As the resort's boosters looked for ways to keep the beach less expensive, police were making plans to keep the trip safe.
Maj. A.J. McAndrew said the state police will beef up patrols on Maryland highways during the holiday weekend, concentrating on such violations as aggressive driving, speeding and drunken driving.
Lt. Joseph Scott of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police urged motorists whose cars become disabled on the Bay Bridge or other toll facilities to call for help and wait for a rescue vehicle. Even if a driver has no cell phone, authorities will quickly learn of a breakdown from traffic cameras or other motorists, he said.
"I emphasize to stay in your vehicle if anything like that takes place," Scott said.
On April 18, Kent Island resident Harry Blauvelt, 70, was killed on the Bay Bridge when a truck hit his Honda Accord, pushed it into the retired golf writer — who had left his car after it broke down in the only open eastbound travel lane — and threw him off the eastbound span.