Several years ago, when gas prices were marching toward $4 per gallon, AAA surveyed the public to determine the breaking point, the price at which motorists would say “Enough!” and start making changes to their driving habits. The answer: $3 per gallon. And since drivers, especially commuters, had limited alternatives to those prices, the survey showed that daytrips and other vehicle vacation travel might be curtailed in reaction to the pain at the pump.
No one is talking about $3 or $4 prices here this summer. OPEC nations are limiting oil production, but those cuts have been offset by oil production increases right here in this country. Still, with seasonal refinery maintenance, the switch to summer-grade fuels, and increased demand, the predictions are that national prices will average $2.70 this summer.
What does that mean for travelers?
A AAA study found that more than 60 percent of Americans will consider traveling closer to home this summer if prices reach the projected range, which would be 75 cents higher than a year ago. The key might be the words “closer to home,” as opposed to not traveling at all.
We no longer see the sticker shock once associated with prices between $2 and $3 per gallon. To drivers ages 18 through 34 in particular, this summer’s prices might seem somewhat normal. They’ll be less likely to change driving habits than those age 35 and older.
With nearly 80 percent of families planning a summer road trip this year, higher gas prices will make domestic locations – such as theme parks and national parks – the most desired travel destinations, according to AAA Travel. The Northeast, where mountains, lakes and the ocean are all within reasonable driving distance, is always a desirable family destination.
AAA has many tools to help you get the most out of each fill-up. The AAA Mobile app can help you find the lowest gas prices in your area, while AAA’s daily Fuel Gauge Report surveys 60,000 stations across the country. And our Fuel Cost Calculator will help you estimate the cost of fuel from your home to your destination. So please take advantage of your AAA membership every time you hit the road this summer.
Click here for 37 gas saving tips.