The largest seasonal surge in gas prices since 2011 isn’t slowing down travel plans this summer, as more Americans are hitting the road than staying home, according to GasBuddy’s 2019 summer travel survey.
According to the annual survey, nearly 75 percent of Americans said they will take a road trip this summer, which is a 16 percent increase from last year, while 38 percent cited high gas prices for impacting their summer travel decisions, nearly the same as the 2018 gas price sentiment.
The increase in motorist’s desire to hit the road comes as the national average has gently fallen after advancing 67 cents per gallon from New Year’s Day to a peak May 4, which is the second largest seasonal rise ever behind a 93 cents per gallon surge in 2011 and ahead of last year’s 49 cents per gallon rise.
“For many Americans, this spring has pinched pocketbooks at a dizzying rate, but that still won’t hold back many from hitting the road for the 90 days or so of prime summer weather,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “While the rise in prices has been steep this spring, perhaps the most important factor is that in many places, gas prices are still well below their all-time highs and perhaps even more importantly, over 50 percent of the nation’s gas stations are selling at $2.99 per gallon or less.”
That’s a key ingredient in the recipe for many Americans to hit the road again this summer, added DeHaan.
According to the survey:
• Americans who are taking a road trip this summer are covering more ground. Forty two percent will be driving more than 500 miles round trip, compared to 31 percent in 2018.
● Seven percent more people plan to take trips longer than one week this summer compared to last year, while weekend trips and day trips are down 7 percent.
• With higher gas prices this summer, the number one road trip fear is overpaying at the pump, followed by the car breaking down and needing to use a restroom but unsure of which have clean facilities.
• When deciding where to stop, travelers continue to care about convenience and price. The top three factors when choosing a pit stop include: convenient location, gas prices and curb appeal.
The GasBuddy Summer Travel Survey was issued to 1,680 GasBuddy members April 24, 2019.
Summer travel is defined as the period between May 24 - Sept. 2, 2019 (Memorial Day through Labor Day).