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Summer Travel Plunges Due to Higher Gas Prices, GasBuddy Reveals

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Rising gas prices have put a crimp in travel plans this summer as more Americans are planning staycations instead of hitting the road, according to our 2018 Summer Travel survey.

According to the annual survey, only 58 percent said they will take a road trip this summer, a 24 percent decrease from last year, while 39 percent cited high gas prices for impacting their summer travel decisions, compared to 19 percent in 2017.

The decrease in motorist’s appetite to hit the road comes at a time when the national average gasoline price is at its highest point since November 2014 due to a recent rally in oil prices because of long-term OPEC production cuts, the U.S. exiting the Iran nuclear deal, declining U.S. oil inventories and high demand. Gas prices are expected to hit $2.95 per gallon on Memorial Day, a 58-cent increase over Memorial Day last year, costing motorists $1 billion more from Thursday to Monday alone.

The impact of high gas prices will be felt well beyond Memorial Day.

“With refineries now well positioned for the summer months, we may see some relief in mid-June, but expect this summer to remain the priciest since 2014 with a strong likelihood of the national average hitting the psychological $3 per gallon barrier sometime this summer should we see any unexpected outages or geopolitical tensions flare,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

GasBuddy’s 2018 Summer Travel Survey Highlights:

  1. Trips closer to home. Americans who are taking a road trip this summer aren’t covering as much ground. Only 31 percent will be driving more than 500 miles round trip, compared to 56 percent in 2017.
  2. Less time away. Twenty-five percent fewer people plan to take trips longer than one week this summer compared to last year, while weekend trips are up 17 percent.
  3. Overpaying for gasoline #1 road trip fear. 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 gas stations have clean facilities.
  4. When deciding where to stop, travelers care about convenience and price. The top 3 factors when choosing a pit stop include: (1) convenient location, (2) gas prices and (3) curb appeal.

* GasBuddy Summer Travel Survey issued to more than 17,000 GasBuddy members from April 27 – May 3, 2018.

GasBuddy is a company that connects drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. As the leading source for crowdsourced, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, millions of drivers use the GasBuddy app and website every day to find gas station convenience stores based on fuel prices, location and ratings/reviews. GasBuddy’s first-of-its-kind fuel savings program, Pay with GasBuddy, has saved Americans more than $3.6 million at the pumps since its launch in 2017.

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