Record High Gas Prices Will Not Keep Americans From Taking Road Trips This Summer, GasBuddy Survey Says

Beautiful twin sisters driving a car and enjoying summer road trip.
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Few things are more American than a summer road trip, and many Americans plan to do just that this year even as gas prices surge to record highs, according to a new survey from GasBuddy.

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The company’s annual summer travel survey, released on May 19, found that 58% of respondents plan to road trip this summer — despite GasBuddy’s estimate that average Memorial Day gas prices will be a staggering $4.65 a gallon. That’s up from $3.04 a gallon during the 2021 Memorial Day and $2.83 in 2019, pre-COVID. This year’s estimated price is about $1 higher than the past decade’s previous Memorial Day high of $3.66 a gallon, set in 2014.

The current national average is $4.596 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s the highest average on record.

Even though a large percentage of Americans plan to travel this summer, many others are taking a wait-and-see approach. When asked about inflation’s effects on travel plans, 70% of respondents said their summer travel plans have been affected by high gas prices. More than one-third indicated that high inflation has made planning more difficult, and the majority (65%) are taking only one or two road trips. 

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The most common amount of time traveled by car will likely be anywhere from two to five hours, GasBuddy said. Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the most popular travel weekend, followed by Independence Day and Labor Day.  

“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,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a press release. “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.”

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If you’re planning to road trip this summer, here are some money-saving tips suggested by GasBuddy:

  • Change the way you drive. Your optimal fuel economy usually happens at around 55 miles per hour. Try to anticipate traffic patterns and apply slow, steady acceleration and braking. This can boost your fuel economy by as much as 25%, saving you the equivalent of 50 cents to $1 per gallon.
  • Shop around for the cheapest gas. A good resource is the GasBuddy app, which lets drivers easily and conveniently compare prices on the road.
  • Sign up for gas rewards and other loyalty programs.  Many retailers and gas credit cards can help you save money at the pump through rewards and loyalty programs. Now is a good time to sign up for them.
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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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