Travel

Are gas prices and inflation causing people to cancel summer travel plans?

A majority of Utah residents are now considering cutting back or postponing summer travel plans in the face of continued inflationary pressure and record high gas prices, according to new survey data.

And the survey results are in line with local and national indicators of consumer sentiment, which hit an all-time low in June when it comes to the collective view of economic conditions.

A Deseret News/Hinckley Statewide Policy Institute poll of 808 registered voters, conducted June 16-29, found gas prices and inflation to be the most important factors in deciding whether to travel in the next three months.

Gas prices were listed as number one for 53% of respondents, while inflation was the top concern for 41% of survey participants. COVID-19 incidence rates and hotel affordability received the highest scores from 18% of respondents, although nearly a third indicated that the ongoing pandemic had not been factored into their decision to travel.

The new survey data compiled by Dan Jones & Associates has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.45 percentage points.

The US inflation rate eased briefly in April but returned to a 40-year high of 8.6% in May, according to the latest US Department of Labor CPI report.

The highland states, including Utah, continue to see some of the highest regional inflation in the country, with average prices for goods and services up 9.4% in May, compared to a 9.8% increase in April.

U.S. consumers are currently paying for groceries, which are up 11.9% year-over-year, gas is up 48.7% year-over-year, and housing costs are up 5.5% since May 2021. .

New and used car prices also continue to rise, up 12.6% and 16.1% respectively.

Rampant inflation in America is putting massive pressure on families, forcing them to pay far more for food, gas and rent and reducing their ability to afford basic necessities, from haircuts to electronics to vacations. In particular, low-income Americans, as well as black and Hispanic Americans, struggle because, on average, most of their income is spent on basic necessities.

And while the national average gas price has declined over the past few weeks after hitting $5 a gallon last month, Utah drivers continue to face record high prices at local gas stations.

On Friday, the AAA reported that the average US price of a gallon of regular gasoline is now $4.72 per gallon, up from a record $5.02 per gallon.

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