Would $4 Gas Change Your Summer Travel Plans?

It’s no secret that gas prices are unusually high for this time of year and that they’re going to continue to rise throughout the summer’s peak driving season.  How high will they go?  While nobody knows for sure, several analysts are predicting that before this summer is over, the national average gas price will top $4 per gallon for the first time in history.

So, what would happen to the summer travel season if these predictions prove to be true and the average gasoline price actually does climb above $4 per gallon?  According to a recent poll, it looks like the summer travel season could come to a grinding halt.

When asked “If gas hits $4 per gallon this summer, will it cause you to travel less?” 74% of respondents stated that they would in fact travel less.  A total of 17% of respondents stated that they would not travel less, 7% said they were not planning on traveling anyway and 2% said they were unsure how $4 gas would impact their summer travel plans.

Obviously, this isn’t very good news for beach towns and other summer vacation spots, many of whom rely on summer tourists to provide much of the year’s revenue.  If gas prices were to force people to “vacation” closer to home, many beach shops and restaurants could be in danger of going out of business.

I think everyone’s hoping that gas prices won’t rise that high and, at worst, we have a summer like last year, where we had higher but somewhat manageable gas prices. 

Unfortunately, at this point, it doesn’t look like you should count on it.

Comments

  1. $4 a gallon is nothing, compared to UK prices. We’re paying around 90p a liter, which converts to £3.40 or $6.69 a gallon. The problem isn’t the price, but how much you consum. The average car in the UK has an engine size of 1.8 Liters and will do roughly 35-40 MPG. Where as, in the time I spent in the states, I noticed most cars have a 2.5-3.0 Liter engine which would give you an average 25-30 MPG. Basically the average car in the UK are more effecient, because of high fuel cost. So trade in your 5.0 Liter HEMI for a Ford Focus or a Honda Accord, there both big enough for a Family of five and will save you a ton on gas.

  2. i’m sick of hearing people say that several dollars is too much for a gallon of gas. gasoline is ridiculously inexpensive. we’ve got a long way to go before gas prices really affect people’s habits. i get 35 mi/gal in my car, in the city, driving like a jerk. at current prices thats less than ten cents a mile. i used to bike to work, 15 miles away. at ten cents a mile, you’re getting off easy

    i’ve been repeating this viewpoint for a few years. last summer i quit my job, took six months off, and went wandering across the country, alone. i racked up 20k miles when everybody was complaining about gas prices. i saw low-octane gas for more than $4 a gallon. (really, 20k miles. i sure saw a lot of country, i will tell you that). all said and done, it cost me $1200 in gas. it’s a sizble chunk of change, but compared to the distance i drove, it still strikes me as cheap.

    also, take a look at car prices and expenses averaged out over the life of a vehicle, versus the gas prices. they’re comparable.

    nothing is going to change until we start seeing double digit gas prices, and people really have to consider if it makes sense to commute 40 miles to work, especially alone. until then, there is really no economic pressure and all of this reporting on gas prices is just filler and marketing. take note of all the car commercials touting their ‘efficient’ cars that get 24 mi/gal. pathetic.

    also, thank those who speculate on energy commodities and preemptively drive the price up. they will help ease you slowly into a world where gas is no longer dirt cheap, rather than you waking up one day to find out that gasoline is simply no longer available.

    • Some Person says:

      Remember The truckers strike??? 1 week and the president stepped in… what if we as consumers stopped buying gas and called into work… and dont say we would get fired… if everyone calls in due to gas prices a company cant afford to fire everyone… and if everyone called in at every place of employment who is going to be there to fire u… The US would grind to a halt within 24 hrs… it would make the truckers strike look like a short vacation… I remember nothing on the shelves at the store, no gas at the station, ect… what would it be like if everyone stopped working and driving until the gas issue was resolved… how quickly do you think the gvt would step in and gas prices would be forcibly dropped??? we used to come together as a nation when something was wrong in this country and make changes happen, we have forgotten how to passively resist as a nation. people are too scared to force change… WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! be controlled or exert your control… this used to be a democracy for the people by the people, I wont get into what it has become as that is a subject for a blog with a different title…

  3. Gasoline already costs $6-$6.50 in the UK (for one US gallon). $4 is cheap, so stop whinging. America needs higher fuel prices to encourage proper vehicle design. In Europe, we just can’t believe how primitive many American vehicles are, with their huge V8 engines that deliver ridiculously low power output for their engine capacity.

  4. Stop bleating about the cost of your petrol…

    Try living in the uk were paying $7.50 on the gallon, yes it is a far superior fuel to yours but still… it sucks.

  5. I get supply & demand, but how can gas usage DOUBLE when summer comes? I mean sure there’s vacation, but people go on vacations in the winter time as well.
    If higher gas price means less travel (eg, last summer) how can supply still be low?
    I really think it’s an artificial shortage made to boost profit.

  6. J. Johns says:

    Actually, $4.00 per gallon will not only change travel plans for vacations, the artificially inflated gouging price will put 10′s of thousands of hard working people out of business. Construction, landscaping, hauling, moving, resort towns, car rental companies, restraunts, etc. – business’ will die. The greed of the oil/gas industry is inexcusable.
    The oil/gas industry is a “backbone” industry of our nation. For our nation to function, we need fuel to get to work so those workers can provide good & services. We have no choice but to pay the outrageous prices because we must goto work to get money to pay for shelter and food.
    The price of milk is regulated.
    The price of some alcohol is regulated.
    We don’t absolutely need either of these things.
    Why isn’t the price of oil regulated?
    If you take away alcohol, people may get cranky but can still function.
    If you take away milk, you may not necessarily be as healthy but could take a supplement.
    If you take away oil, OUR country more or less shuts down.
    Since the oil/gas industry has shown they will gouge it’s consumers at EVERY opportunity, showing RECORD PROFITS, quarter after quarter, the only way to reign in their scrooge like behavior is to tell them what they can charge.
    If we can justify doing this with non-necessary items, why can’t we do this with something so important to the SURVIVAL of our nation?
    I would like to take the opportunity to ask those people with access to a public forum or stage such as newspapers, reporters, politicians, etc. to stand up and take on these bullies. I ask that you speak for others who don’t have a voice. Isn’t that what the USA is really about??
    Not giant billion dollar faceless, emotionless corporations that ravage citizens with impunity.

  7. In Ireland today Petrol (or Gasoline) is EUR 1.03 per litre, In the UK EUR 1.30 per litre, in the USA it is just EUR 0.47 per litre.

  8. Here’s my daily fuel economy tip – drive a smaller, more efficient car. European diesels get 70-80 MPG, even the large ones get 50 MPG. Why is the largest mileage option only 30+? Get rid of your badly engineered V8 gas guzzlers with their ridiculously low power to efficiency ratio and drive something sensible instead.

  9. Northeasterner says:

    You can’t regulate gas prices within US. Oil (barrel) is a commodity that trades in international markets. The oil companies make a ton of money, but if we (Americans) don’t pay the market price, then some other country will.

    Gas is much more expensive in Europe because of higher taxes. Cost of oil and cost of refinining it into gas is not that much different. So to the Brits: stop whining about your high prices – that’s a function of your own government.

  10. In India, we pay around 50 INR per litre which is little more than 4$ per gallon. Do you think there is any need for a RICH country to complain on this ?

  11. brinebold says:

    @ J. Johns

    You’re missing the fact that that oil companies holds more power over the US Government than the US Government holds over oil companies.

    Oil companies such as Mobil can live without the US. Yes, they would lose more money than most people will ever see, but if it ever comes down to a true standoff between the US and Oil refiners they could relocate to a foreign country, layoff some employees, and last years while we’d crumble and be willing to pay 2-3x as much after a month or two. As-is it works out best for both of us for them to slowly raise the price a few cents every couple days.

    “Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it”
    –Publilius Syrus (BC Roman Author)

  12. Okay, so the Brits and portions of Europe pay over $7/gallon/litre. They have been paying that for years. They wonder why the US is in shock over the hike to over $4/gallon? Because we have never had to pay that much before. As for the 80 mpg diesels……….great………save money while giving me lung cancer……..just wonderful. I have a motorcycle as my only means of transportation. If I’m REALLY hauling balls and tearing up the pavement, I’ll get about 35 mpg, if I’m riding in a passive manner, I’ll get 65+ mpg. And yes, $4/gallon makes a hell of a difference on a motorcycle. When I first bought the bike in 2002, I could fill up for under $5. Right now at $3/gallon, it costs me about $10. So if it does get up to $4/gallon, I could pay as much as $16 if I run it dry. I guess the good news would be more motorcycles on the road and less cell phone toting idiots running over motorcycles because they didn’t “see” them.

  13. Jim Murphy says:

    Since housing is so expensive, I cannot afford to move close to work and there are no jobs that pay anywhere near my house. I have a 95 mile commute each way. I drive about 1,000 miles per week. These gas prices are killing me! My car is lucky to get 32 MPG.

    I don’t see why they don’t bring back the Geo Metro’s that were getting 49 MPG and the old 1984 Honda Civic CRX that was getting 67 MPG. Why did they sell those cars back then when gas was cheaper but now they want to sell overpriced Hybrids that get the same or much less gas mileage? This is all a big scam. How come nobody is complaining about this? You NEVER hear people talking to the manufacturers asking why they don’t bring back the 1984 CRX. WE NEED THIS CAR back here again, or at least the drive train that was able to do this.

  14. Okay, even if I do get rid of my big gas sucking V-8 as every European on the conitinent would prefer, I’m still going broke heating my house. How come nobody’s discussed the direct corrolation between gas prices and heating oil prices? Frankly, gas prices aren’t affecting me much as I live in a small city and my commute is short. I even pedal my bike to work in the summer months. However, I’m dying financially just trying to keep my house at 68 degrees through the winter and trust me – my house is not heated by a gas sucking Detroit V-8!

  15. j. johns says:

    Yes oil prices can be regulated. Several Middle East countries do this at the discression of their governments. This is a FACT. If you don’t believe me, look it up.

    Yes I understand gas is $6.50-$7.50 per gallon (US equivilent) in the UK. Yes that is alot of money. My point is last year, were people in the UK paying $3.25-$3.75 per gallon and it doubled this year??? Because thats is what is going to happen here if it goes to $4.00 per gallon! The price of gas has doubled in 1 year. If the average americans budget can afford $2.00 per gallon and the price doubles, this hurts the average person. I’m sure if the UK cost for gas went from $6.50 to $13.00 in one year people would be upset.
    People outside the US have misconceptions about the average american citizen. We don’t drive solid gold trucks that get 2 mpg. We don’t live in mansions. We don’t hate the rest of the world. I don’t understand why individuals writing here seem to have bad feelings for people in the US. I don’t think all muslims are terrorists, all british people have bad teeth and big ears, all french people are rude and ignorant so why do the people here have such a negative view of people like me ??? I am a very hard working person just trying to make a living and help others when I can. By the way, the US is full of people just like me.

  16. You’re just hitting $4 a gallon now? your northerly neighbors have had prices that high during the summer for about 2 years now!

  17. Jim Murphy says:

    Why do people use oil to heat their house? My house uses a regular A/C and electric to heat and cool. My electric bill has never gone over $140 and the lowest it goes is $80 for a 1600 sq. ft., wood framed house.

    You people who pay $400-500/mo. for oil to heat your home in the winter are smoking big time crack. USE ELECTRICITY! IT’S CHEAPER!!

    Insulate your house better. Have double-pained windows.

  18. FeddyRock!!! says:

    Despite what everyone is saying about European prices, we still have young college students like myself who is cringing at the thought of $4/gallon for gas. I’m a full time student, who works only 35 hrs per week (because that’s all that my school schedule will allow). I have a car, make car payments, insurance, and rent with utilities, and I do not have enough money to pay extra money for something that’s valued and needed. Let’s think about the young individuals who are trying to make something out of themselves, but just dont have the funds right now to pay $4 damn dollars a gallon for gas!!!!

  19. Jim Murphy says:

    Do what I did when I went to college… drive without insurance. I did that for 4 years as I didn’t even have a job. I cut lawns just to pay for gas for my car. I drove a $50 dollar beater car that I learned how to be a mechanic and fixed everything myself. I changed the timing chain, brakes, clutch and other stuff using a Haines book. The fines you get for getting caught without insurance will be FAR CHEAPER than what you’re paying for insurance now. You could probably drive for years without insurance and never get caught. Just drive the speed limit and use common sense. I have over 700,000+ miles of driving experience and have never been in an accident.

    That’s one way you could cut expensive to offset the cost of fuel. Or drive a scooter which in most states does not legally require you to have insurance. I drove a Yamaha Riva 180 that would do 70 MPH on the highway. If I bought one today, I would opt for either the new Yamaha 400cc or the Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter. Either of those will go over 100 if you need to. The Yamaha is about $5300 and the Suzuki one is $8,000+. The Yamaha has been reported of getting about 75 MPG.

    Try that and then you won’t worry so much about $4/gallon of gas.

    You guys are all complaining now about it. Try being me. I commute 200 miles per day, 1,000 miles per week! These gas prices affect me a lot more than anyone here. NOBODY I KNOW commutes 4,000 miles per month unless they do it by train going from Jersey to NY or something.

  20. The average European doesn’t have to drive as far as the average American. America is a huge country with a vast transportation system. Most Americans have houses, not apartments and live several miles from the inner city or township. We can drive a small compact car which gets descent gas mileage, and most commuters already have the “beater” car they commute with. We would all prefer better gas mileage from our cars, but small crampy cars aren’t exactly great for a long haul trip out of state on vacation. The land mass of the UK is smaller than the state of Oregon. https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/uk.html

    Basically, we drive longer distances than Europeans and don’t want to be cramped up in a small econo-box any more than we have to. If we had the choice of a great vehicle which has good horse power and gets good gas mileage, and also has plenty of room for the family, we’ll take it. So please, stop harping about how you do it in the UK, it’s apples and oranges…

  21. I think its kind of ridiculous that it would alter travel. I don’t think it would cost that much more. I do know that when gas is higher a lot of people start buying motorcycles which once again doesn’t fit a reasonable person standard but whatever.

  22. Confident28 says:

    While European energy prices have been artificially high for decades (taxes), they are now reaping great benefits from it. The average European lives very comfortably (like most Americans) but they consumer about 50% less energy per person. While Americans consumer more energy every year we waste a lot of it. We should have been paying $4 (or more) per gallon 10 years ago. It would have been painful but eventually we would have adapted and consumed less, just like the Europeans. Instead we waited until the world ran into the limits of oil production. Oil isn’t like a factory produced car. When an auto manufacturer cann’t build cars fast enough he builds another factory. When world oil production maxes out (which it is) it maxes out. Throw in 2 billion newly richer Chinese and Indians who want/need more oil every year and you get a very bad supply and demand picture. As Americans we just better get used to rising energy prices very quickly – because next summers price will hit $5 per gallon and the following summer $6 and so on and so forth.

  23. $4 a gallon ? Ok guess the car is PARKED this summer and I stay home and spend no MONEY!

  24. Re: expensive gas in the UK

    In the UK, 100 miles is far, far away. In the US, 100 years is a long, long time.

  25. I understand what you’re saying about your car getting great mileage at 35 mpg, but you seem to not be considering the ones that can’t afford what you’ve got. For example, the middle and lower class citizens that don’t have cars that receive 305 plus mpg. The ones that have to raise a family AND cope with $4 gas. Yeah, this has an affect on them beacuse they have to do more for their children and such. You also seem to not be looking at the ones who have family out of town. I live in North Texas and my family stays in Central Arkansas. If my grandmother gets sick, how can I, as a young full-time student, plan an emergency trip 8 hours down the highway if gas is so high? Not everyone has an advantage like you do, and obviously it is a big issue if 74% of the people who took that poll said they’d alter their driving for the summer. All people like myself are asking for is a little break. We’re not asking for government assistance or section 8 housing – we just don’t want to be assed out to get 3 miles down the road!

  26. Tyler Perez says:

    Ok, listen guys, I am in the A/C and Heating buisness, and the price of oil is very high, and is very stupid. Listen people, oil is not a big thing anymore, natural gas heaters are the only way to go in America, mainly because it is very much cheaper and effecient than oil, and for those people in America who have Electric Heaters, get rid of them, because the electric heaters dont heat the air, they burn the air at 150 degrees Farenheit, and the fuel that is used in the production of the electricity will be tremendous. 1 Gallon of home heating oil is $4.75, 1 gallon of liquid natural gas is $2.47, and natural gas is 24% more effecient then oil. So which is the best bet for Americans in the future. And Europeans, dont get me started on them, sure I admit Americans are very lazy and also slightly drunk on power, but that is the Rich American Man who does nothing in his life. The hard working Middle Class person is who worries about fuel prices. Pretty soon the price of oil will go up around the World because of thrid world countries starting to industrialize. Sure Electrical Heaters are 100% effeicent, but they are also the #1 highest cost to maintain and produce heat. People if you want to save money, I suggest either you find something better than gas, cause we got almost no time left before Frontlines: Fuel of War begins in real life.

  27. Guess the oil companies (ie terrorists ) won !
    They did/will kill the US economy.
    $4/gallon FOR REGULAR is insane!

  28. Anonymous says:

    plokpl

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