The Price of Gas Isn’t Stopping Most Americans From Traveling This Memorial Day Weekend

Close up of a young family packing up for a road trip.
vorDa / Getty Images

National average gas prices sit at $4.59 as Americans head into Memorial Day weekend. But it’s not keeping as many travelers off the road as one might expect, based on the results of a recent GOBankingRates survey.

Morgan Dean, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic Division, told local news media “We’ve never seen a Memorial Day from year-to-year jump like that.” But following two summers of restricted travel, just over 39% of Americans polled told GOBankingRates that they have not canceled their Memorial Day Weekend plans because of gas prices. Another 33.8% said they have, while just over 27% said they are still undecided.

Based on the survey, men were more apt than women to cancel plans, with more than 40% of men surveyed saying they had, compared to just 27% of women. Roughly one quarter of men polled were undecided, compared to nearly 29% of the women.

Across age groups, Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) were more likely to cancel plans, with roughly 50% of that group saying gas prices put a crimp in their plans for the holiday. Cost-conscious millennials aged 25 to 34 were the second-most likely group to cancel plans, with 36% saying they had, and 34% saying the weekend would continue as they had planned. Older millennials and the youngest Gen Xers (ages 35 to 44) represented another divided demographic, with 31.5% saying they had canceled plans, 34.2% saying they had not, and over 34% saying they still weren’t sure as of May 24, 2022.

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The survey indicated that the older Americans got, the less likely they were to cancel their Memorial Day plans due to the rising cost of gas. More than 41% of GenXers from ages 45 to 54 said they were keeping their plans, while 30% had cancelled and 28% remained on the fence.

Amongst older adults, ages 55 and up, only 25% said they cancelled plans. Of those ages 55 to 64, 43% said they hadn’t cancelled plans and 31% said they hadn’t decided yet. Of Americans ages 65 and up, 50% said they hadn’t cancelled and roughly 23% hadn’t made up their minds.

It’s possible that older adults didn’t have travel plans in the first place, or that those polled felt more financially secure (and able to spend the extra money on fuel).

AAA reported that those who kept their holiday weekend travel plans could be cutting back on other costs to pay for transportation. They might dine out less, choose a less expensive restaurant, or pick lower cost activities — such as hiking, camping, or visiting friends and family for a backyard cook-out.

“People have all of this pent-up energy to travel because they stayed home for the last two years. They’re not going to let this summer pass them by,” AAA Greater Hartford spokesperson Tracy Noble told NBC Connecticut.

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