Record gas prices affected summer planes and car travel for Virginia residents

Richmond, Virginia (WRIC) – Virginians looking to travel this summer are facing the effects of record gas prices on airfare and road trips.

An AAA Travel survey in April found that 32% of Commonwealth residents surveyed said they plan to travel more this summer than last summer. This is happening even though the national average price for a gallon of regular gas hit $5 on Thursday, its highest price ever.

An AAA survey showed that more than 40% of Virginians said gas prices were not even a consideration in their travel planning. But nearly 45% said they were making fewer or shorter trips because of the prices at the pump.

“We haven’t seen a huge reduction in the number of people driving,” said AAA’s Rajina Ali. “We think people may be modifying their driving behaviors to some extent.”

Of the nearly 25% of Virginians who said they would stay home or were unsure of their summer travel plans at the time, nearly half cited gas prices as the biggest factor influencing that decision, according to the statement.

“The results of the new AAA Travel survey indicate that COVID concerns have eased significantly and that a majority of Virginians are planning to escape despite gas prices,” said Morgan Dean, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “While domestic travel dominates, it is interesting to note how many people are planning to travel internationally as well. This is something we haven’t seen since 2019.”

Images: Getty Images

However, when taking longer flights, residents will have to consider the higher fuel costs airlines face as well.

“We raised our prices. If the price of fuel doubles, we have to charge about $5 per hour of flight. So if you’re going to leave San Francisco and it’s a five-hour flight, we have to get at least $25 to $40 each way to cover the price of fuel.”

That’s part of the reason airlines like Breeze say they are looking at more fuel-efficient aircraft options.

“The A220, being a clean design, incorporates a lot of new technologies. All of these technologies help ensure the economics of operating the aircraft are significantly reduced,” said Matthew Sachs, Airbus North America Vice President of Airlines Marketing. 40% lightweight material […which] It will be able to burn less fuel.”

Breeze Airways is one of the eight major airlines that fly out of Richmond International Airport (RIC).

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, which also provides service to and from RIC, said the company has fuel hedges in place to help mitigate volatility in the energy market.

“The current energy price environment is exactly why a systematic hedging program is in place – to provide insurance in the near term, particularly during the time frame of our published schedule,” a spokesperson said. “We also have firm orders for more than 400 new, more fuel-efficient 737 MAX aircraft scheduled for delivery over the next decade.”

The spokesperson also said they can’t speculate on future ticket prices. But CEO Bob Jordan commented on the effects of higher fuel prices at the end of April in a report on financial results for the first quarter of 2022.

“While we face inflationary pressures from higher jet fuel prices, our fuel hedging provides significant protection against higher oil prices,” he said. “Because we focus on the basics, our priorities for 2022 are clear: getting the right staff and returning to historical operational reliability; restoring our customer service edge; growing our fleet with Boeing’s most modern, fuel-efficient 737 aircraft; adding flights flight and restore our network, especially on short-haul business routes; invest in enabling technologies to drive efficiencies; and deliver consistent quarterly profits.”

Ali said that whether you are driving or planning to fly, the unprecedented rise in fuel prices – will affect costs. But travel options may be affected by the number of people involved.

“For example, if only my husband and I are traveling, it may be cheaper for us to travel to a location, while if we are traveling with our children or family, it may be better to drive to offset the multiple ticket prices,” she said. But they say they might stay in a cheaper hotel or they might choose to stay with family and friends.”

Leave a Comment