Will gas prices change your travel plans? maybe not | Travel

PITTSBURGH – The latest AAA survey found that 80% of Americans interviewed said they would make changes and drive fewer cars due to higher gas prices.

AAA travel agents have been very busy this year as COVID-19 restrictions ease. “They’re getting phone calls asking what’s available regarding domestic travel and beyond,” said Jim Garrity, director of public affairs for AAA East Central.

One side effect of the pandemic is pent-up demand to get back on the road and out of town, and that desire may be overcome by the high cost at the pump.

“VisitPittsburgh is very optimistic about leisure travel in the spring and summer, despite the price of gas,” said Jarad Bashar, head of the region’s tourism group.

He said: “We believe there is still a huge demand for recreational travel pent-up due to the pandemic, even though 2022 is the third ‘Covid summer’.”

According to VisitPittsburgh, local hoteliers are supporting this by reporting fully-rebounded bookings for life events like weddings, parties and reunions, with rescheduling back to pre-pandemic levels.

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To be sure, rising gas prices have caught the attention of consumers and politicians alike. Georgia and Maryland have temporarily suspended their gas taxes, and other states are considering this option.

“We’ve noticed recently that some destinations actually target SUV tourists with slogans that clearly remind travelers that they are ‘only one tank away,’ and you’ll see variations of those messages in our marketing as well,” she said.

Fuel prices have been making headlines lately.

“It was kind of a quick ride for crude oil prices, which peaked around $125 (a barrel) after the invasion of Ukraine and then went up again. Plus, we’re heading into the time of year where demand goes up and we start consuming the summer gasoline blend,” he said. Garity.

Summer mix is ​​more expensive because it is made so that it does not evaporate much at higher temperatures. “Prices generally go up in the spring and hover around the same level in the summer,” he said.

This natural trend has been disrupted by the pandemic and now by Russian sanctions and the war in Ukraine.

What that means for the summer travel season isn’t entirely clear.

“When AAA surveyed consumers about their breaking point in terms of gas prices, the majority said when they hit the $4 a gallon mark, they would make changes to their driving habits,” Garrity said.

This means more carpooling, combining trips and errands, less time spent on the road, and less time in other areas like eating out.

“Consumers are placing importance on road trips and travel and will shrink in other areas,” Garrity said.

“In my case, I drive a mid-size pickup truck, and my wife drives a sedan. I drive the sedan a lot because it is a more fuel efficient combustion.”

If you want to get on with your trip and save money too, AAA has several tips for extending a gallon of gas.

“Going down your car to point E is not one of them,” said Mr. Garrity.

The Automobile Association saw a jump last month in “out of fuel” calls suggesting that people are pushing the limits of their cars’ ability to run on fumes.

“It’s not good for the engine and may cost you more in repairs.”

Here are some tried and true AAA tips for getting the most miles per gallon.

– Slow down and drive to the speed limit. On the highway, the aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop dramatically as speeds increase above 50 mph.

Reduce trips and lighten the burden. Reduce the amount of cargo in your vehicle when possible. Combine errands, perhaps aiming to get all of your errands done on one day of the week. Also, consider using the most fuel-efficient car in your home more often.

—Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions significantly increase fuel consumption. Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to shift into higher gears sooner, lowering engine rpm and saving fuel.

—Avoid extended engine warm-up idling. Even in winter, the engine stopping and heating up is unnecessary and wastes fuel.

-Look ahead. When approaching a stop sign or red light, take your foot off the gas early and allow your vehicle to descend at a slower speed until it is time to brake.

—Use cruise control to help maintain a steady speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on wet roads as this may result in loss of vehicle control.

Keep tires properly inflated. Under inflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires that are low in air affect handling and brakes, wear out more quickly, and can overheat and explode.

Maintain the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular maintenance will ensure optimum fuel supply, performance and longevity.

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