BOSTON — More than half of Americans say they plan to road-trip this summer, according to a new survey, even though analysts predict that the price of gasoline could hit $6 before the season’s end.
Fifty-eight percent of people surveyed said they intend to drive to their summer destinations, an increase from last summer, when gas prices were nearly $1.50 per gallon lower, according to GasBuddy, a fuel-savings platform.
Nearly two-thirds, however, said they have yet to confirm their plans, and 38 percent said that high inflation is a factor.
“Against a backdrop of gas prices that have continued to set new records ahead of Memorial Day, Americans have been resilient in their desire to hit the road,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “The COVID factor is still present but has been dwarfed this year by Americans’ concern over high gas prices and dwindling affordable travel options to make use of the best months of the year.”
Massachusetts gas prices hit a new record of $4.73 in mid May, according to AAA. And, JP Morgan analysts warned that retail gas prices could increase to $6 per gallon or even higher unless refineries immediately cut exports and shift production toward gasoline.
Despite that, 47 percent of people surveyed said they plan to drive on Memorial Day weekend, 33 percent said they intend to drive on Independence Day and 31 percent plan to drive on Labor Day weekend, according to GasBuddy’s survey.
For those who choose to fly now that some restrictions have been lifted for the first time in two years, the average price of a domestic flight ticket in Massachusetts is $322.44, slightly lower than the national average of $327.13.
However, Rose Ackermann, executive editor at FamilyDestinationsGuide.com, warned that the surge in airline passenger numbers following the easing of travel restrictions will have an impact on waiting times between checkpoints like check-in counters, security screening and baggage collection.
“While it is great news that travel has fully opened up and families can finally have proper vacations,” Ackerman said, “the combination of increased demand and staff shortages have the potential to cause significant delays and an overall sub-par travel experience.”
Story by Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald.