By Jason Epperson
More Americans are planning to stay close to home this summer, according to GadBuddy’s 2018 Summer Travel Survey. Only 58 percent said they will take a road trip, a 24 percent decrease from last year, with 39 percent saying high gas prices are impacting their summer travel decisions, compared to 19 percent in 2017.
The national average gasoline price is at its highest point since November 2014, following a recent rally in oil prices caused by long-term OPEC production cuts, the U.S. exit from the Iran nuclear deal, declining U.S. oil inventories and high demand. Gasoline is expected to hit a national average of $2.95 per gallon on Memorial Day, a 65-cent increase over Memorial Day last year, costing motorists $1 billion more from Thursday to Monday alone.
“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.
The survey shows that only 31 percent of respondants will be heading anywhere further than a 500-mile round trip in their vehicles this year, compared to 56 percent in 2017. 25 percent fewer people will take trips longer than a week, while 17 percent more drivers will take weekend trips.
GasBuddy is a popular smartphone app and website that gives users access to crowdsourced recent fuel prices at stations nationwide. The survey data comes from 17,000 GasBuddy users between April 27 and May 3, 2018.