Americans Plan to Travel This Summer Despite High Gas Prices Featured

More Americans to Hit the Road This Summer Even as Gas Prices Hit New Records 

Big Idea

  • Affordability drives decision making
  • 58% of Americans intend to road trip this summer
  • The average gas price in the US topped $4.50/gal and have recently reached new all-time highs
  • Americans have been resilient in their desire to hit the road, but there is increased hesitance due to rising prices
  • Read more…

Seventy percent say their travel plans were affected by high gas prices, affordability drives decision making 

BOSTON (May 19, 2022) -- GasBuddy, a PDI company, today released the results of its annual summer travel survey revealing that even with record-high gasoline prices, 58% of Americans intend to road trip this summer, a rise from last summer, when gas prices were nearly $1.50 per gallon lower. While the high prices may not stand in the way of Americans’ summer travel plans, nearly two-thirds have yet to confirm their plans, with 38% saying that high inflation is leading to difficulty in planning summer trips. 

The average gas price in the U.S. topped $4.50 per gallon following a short reprieve in April, and has recently reached new all-time highs. Record-breaking gas prices and general inflation are affecting Americans’ desire to travel with only a one percentage point increase in travel intent year over year, and still 18% lower than 2019’s pre-pandemic level. Gas prices on Memorial Day weekend are forecast to be about $4.65 per gallon, a 51% increase from last year. GasBuddy expects the average price from Memorial Day to Labor Day to be $4.40 per gallon nationally, though significant events could raise or lower the outcome. 


Summer Travel Trends 

When asked about inflation’s effects on travel plans, 70% said their summer travel plans have been affected by high gas prices (an increase of 24% over 2021). More than a third indicated that high inflation has made planning more difficult, and the majority (65%) are taking only one or two road trips. The most common amount of time traveled by car will be between two to three and over five hours. Memorial Day Weekend (47%) will be the most popular travel weekend followed by Independence Day (33%) and Labor Day (31%). 

"Against a backdrop of gas prices that have continued to set new records ahead of Memorial Day, Americans have been resilient in their desire to hit the road, but we're certainly seeing increased hesitancy due to rising prices at the pump. Soaring inflation has led to uncertainty over rising costs,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “The Covid factor is still present, but has been dwarfed this year by Americans’ concern over high gas prices and dwindling affordable travel options to make use of best months of the year.” 

Impact on Retail 

While this summer’s road trip travel trends will likely result in an increase in convenience store purchases due to ‘typical’ seasonal patterns, significant year-over-year sales growth is not expected and there is potential for a decline based on consumer spending concerns. 

“Consumer confidence is lower than we’ve seen in many years. Some sources even suggest that confidence is lower than during the 2008 recession,” said Dafna Gabel, VP, Strategic Insights for PDI Software. “Those surveyed in 2022 shared that inflation has impacted behavior at the pump and in-store across the US. Barring significant shifts in inflation, these behavior adjustments are expected to continue.”

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Last modified on Thursday, 19 May 2022 21:14
Published in Arizona News
Patrick De Haan

Patrick De Haan is the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, and has developed into the leading source for reliable and accurate information on gas price hikes. Recognized as a gasoline price expert, Patrick brings to GasBuddy and our readers all his assets to help consumers by giving reliable and accurate price forecasts.The San Jose Mercury News dubbed Patrick "one of the nation's most accurate forecasters" in 2012.

Besides keeping people up-to-date on the best local gas prices, GasBuddy also offers other ways to save money at the pump.


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