Record gas prices are unlikely to hamper summer travel as Americans crave vacations after the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed normal activities.
When asked about the impact of inflation on travel plans, 70% of consumers surveyed said their summer travel plans were affected by high gasoline prices, which were up 24% compared to 2021. The majority, 65%, still choose one or two roads. trips, according to a recent survey conducted by GasBuddy.
However, travelers can choose destinations closer to home. Traveling shorter distances is the way travelers are likely to make up for inflated gas prices while still taking vacations, according to a local professor.
“It’s not that people have already stopped traveling, but that they have reduced the distance they are willing to travel to reduce the cost of fuel,” said Harold Doty, professor of management at the University of Texas at Tyler.
The U.S. national average gas price topped $5 a gallon for the first time on Thursday, according to GasBuddy. Regular unleaded gasoline averaged about $4.62 in Tyler on Friday. The high cost comes after months of rising gas prices across the country, accelerated by rising seasonal demand amid supply constraints due to the pandemic.
Some Tyler residents believe that high gas prices are taking a toll on summer plans.
“We can’t travel much because of the high prices,” gas station customer John Mullenax said.
Local resident Steven Young said he doesn’t usually travel, but if he wanted to travel, he couldn’t because of the high prices.
“This affects all travel plans,” Young said.
Earlier this week, Shayan Gajragozu bought gas from Tyler and said he was unhappy with high prices.
“I just moved to Tyler, so I drive a lot,” Gajragozu said. “I used to go to Austin, Dallas and I’m from Houston. Now I’m a little more specific about where I want to go.”
Doty said that due to the increased anticipation of travel in the wake of the pandemic, travel is expected to increase significantly this summer.
“We will probably see more travel than we have in the last two summers, simply because people have been unable to travel due to COVID, but I am not sure if we will see the explosive growth this summer that some forecasts have called for. Doty said.
Over time, high gas prices are likely to start cutting travel, Doty said, which will hopefully slow price increases due to lower demand.
Gasoline prices aren’t the only factor Americans consider when planning summer trips. Airfare is up 38% from May last year, and hotel and lodging prices are up 22%, according to the US Travelers Association May Travel Price Index.
“We live in a very interesting time, because until recently [prices] it didn’t seem to affect the travel in any way” – Doty…