On Thursday, May 19, GasBuddy, a PDI company, released the results of its annual summer travel survey revealing that even with record gas prices, 58% of Americans plan to travel this summer, an increase from last summer, when gasoline prices were nearly $1.50 a gallon lower. While high prices aren’t stopping Americans from planning summer trips, nearly two-thirds have yet to confirm their plans, with 38% saying high inflation is making it harder to plan summer trips. ‘summer.
The average U.S. gasoline price topped $4.50 a gallon after a brief reprieve in April and recently hit new all-time highs. Record gas prices and general inflation are affecting Americans’ desire to travel with only a one percentage point increase in intention to travel year over year, and still 18% less than the pre-pandemic level of 2019.
Gasoline prices over Memorial Day weekend are expected to be around $4.65 a gallon, up 51% from a year ago. GasBuddy expects the average price from Memorial Day to Labor Day to be $4.40 per gallon nationwide, although significant events may increase or decrease the result.
Asked about the effects of inflation on travel plans, 70% said their summer travel plans had been affected by high gas prices (a 24% increase from 2021). More than a third said high inflation has made planning more difficult, and the majority (65%) only take one or two car trips.
The most common travel time by car will be between two and three hours and more than five hours. Memorial Day weekend (47%) will be the most popular travel weekend, followed by Independence Day (33%) and Labor Day (31%).
“As gasoline prices continued to set new records ahead of Memorial Day, Americans have shown resilience in their desire to hit the road, but we are certainly seeing increased hesitancy due to rising prices at the pump. Soaring inflation has led to uncertainty about rising costs,” said Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy. “The COVID factor is still present, but has been overshadowed this year by Americans’ concern about high gas prices and fewer affordable travel options to take advantage of the best months of the year.”
Although road travel trends this summer will likely lead to increased convenience store purchases due to “typical” seasonal trends, significant year-over-year sales growth is not expected and there is a downside potential due to consumer spending concerns.
“Consumer confidence is lower than we have seen for many years. Some sources even suggest that confidence is lower than during the 2008 recession,” said Dafna Gabel, vice president, Strategic Insights for PDI Software. “Respondents in 2022 shared that inflation has impacted pump and store behavior across the United States, and barring significant changes in inflation, these behavioral adjustments are expected to continue. .”
In fact, even with the predicted increase in travel this summer, consumer behavior has already begun to change at the pump and in-store, and in-store shoppers are likely to continue to purchase fewer items on each trip. , despite an increase in frequency.
Change the way you drive. Most vehicles today achieve optimum fuel economy of around 55 mph. By anticipating traffic and applying slow, steady acceleration and braking, fuel economy can increase by up to 25%, saving the equivalent of 50 cents to $1 per gallon.
Shop online and offline to find the best price per gallon. The GasBuddy app makes it easy and convenient for drivers to compare prices, whether in their area or while traveling by car.
Sign up for gas rewards and other loyalty programs with retailers to take advantage of available discounts. Also review your credit card benefits, many offer cash back for gas purchases.
The GasBuddy Summer Travel Survey was completed by 1,971 GasBuddy members between April 28 and May 2. Summer travel is defined as the period between May 31 and September 9, 2022 (Remembrance Day through Labor Day).