Americans want to travel this summer, but remain cautious

More Americans planning a road trip,
yet many have yet to confirm plans

(May 23, 2023) The national average price of gasoline this Memorial Day weekend is projected to be $1.10 less than it was in 2022, at $3.53 per gallon on average. Though, lower gas prices alone may not be enough for many Americans to hit the road this summer. According to GasBuddy’s 2023 Summer Travel Survey 64% of Americans are planning to take a summer road trip this year, up from 58% last year. However, 60% of that group has yet to confirm their plans by booking accommodations, activities or other travel plans.

After a grueling summer at the pump last year, it’s clear that Americans are tempted to get back out on the road. In fact, less than half of survey respondents (45%) said high gas prices were affecting their road trip plans this year — in 2022, that number was 70%.

While gas prices might be in motorists’ favor, the costs of other travel essentials such as hotels and airfare remain elevated. Nearly 40% of people said inflation and high prices overall have caused them to rethink their travel plans this summer.

“While gas prices are far lower in most areas than they were last year, Americans seem to feel a bit worse about the economy this year on the heels of rising interest rates, the bank crisis, and inflation that has spiked, impacting their ability to take a road trip during the summer driving season,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“While the number of Americans planning on taking a road trip is higher this year, we’re finding that many remain cautious about the direction of the economy and thus have not yet cemented those plans in, with some hinting that price uncertainty is making things challenging.”

How to save money on summer road trips:

    •    Shop around for the best gas prices. Drivers can save upwards of 30¢ per gallon just by comparing prices before filling up and choosing a price - not a station - to fill up at.

    •    Beware of crossing state lines. Gas prices often vary drastically between states due to tax changes and summer gasoline requirements. Make sure to check prices before crossing a state line to avoid overpaying.

    •    Change the way you drive. Curbing aggressive habits like speeding, hard braking and fast acceleration and using cruise control on the highway at 65 mph can increase efficiency by 15 to 25% versus going 75 mph.