Rising fuel prices to impact travel plans

Rising fuel prices to impact travel plans. (IMG: J.Anderson)

The rising cost of fuel is likely going to force some families to change their summer travel plans, and they’ve certainly had an impact for travel during spring break. According to Mark Brown, the executive vice president for AAA, consumers are saving money on fuel by traveling closer to home.

The national average, based on the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, is $3.98 per gallon. In some parts of the country the price is much higher. This includes parts of Indianapolis where the cost of regular has passed the $4 mark, beating the record setting prices of 2008 ($4.11).

“Since the beginning of 2012, the national average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline has jumped from $3.28 per gallon to $3.89 per gallon, an increase of 61 cents per gallon. At this price, the average household using 1,200 gallons of gasoline per year spends about $4,668 annually, or about $389 per month,” Brown said in his testimony before a House Natural Resources Committee.

AAA’s recent survey of driving habits and spending found that 84 percent of the respondents have already changed their driving habits or lifestyle in some way due to increased gas prices. According to the numbers, combining trips and errands was the most commonly reported cost-cutting tactic with 60 percent of respondents. Moreover, 33 percent of the respondents said they planned to scale down their travel plans for spring break.

“AAA has more than 1000 branch offices across the country and over 7,000 travel counselors who assist AAA members in making travel plans. At this point what we are hearing from our travel agents is encouraging. A short poll of some of these agents suggests that members are not cancelling their vacation driving plans at this time BUT may scale back the distances and the number of destinations, staying within a surrounding state radius,” Brown explained.

If you’re planning a trip, or curious about the prices across the country, the AAA has solid tool to track such things online: http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/index.asp

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