Delta variant and high gas prices prompt reconsideration for summer travel

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Source: GasBuddy

BOSTON (WTVQ) – While travelers might want to get away for the summer, they might not be going too far as COVID cases and gas prices continue to increase.

According to GasBuddy’s Midsummer Travel Survey, 10% less Americans are planning to take a road trip this summer than they were in May. Despite this, gasoline demand hit the highest level of 2021 last week.

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Towards the beginning of May, 57% of Americans planned to take a road trip, as reported in GasBuddy’s 2021 summer travel survey. Since that survey, gas prices have risen to the highest they have been in seven years, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has become more prevalent and the Colonial Pipeline shutdown resulted in gasoline shortages in the Southeast.

Now, only 46% have or are still planning to take a summer road trip.

Gas prices have been climbing since early November, as the national average sits at $3.14 per gallon. In May, 46% of Americans said gas prices deterred taking a road trip. However, that statistic has gone up to 50% of Americans.

“With new Covid cases rising and gasoline prices at their highest level since 2014, some
motorists appear to be re-thinking their summer travel plans,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “However, while some may be trimming summer road trips, demand for gasoline remains strong across the country, with GasBuddy data showing that last week’s consumption reached a 2021 high, topping the busy July 4 holiday weekend. That will keep prices from falling much even as Covid anxiety rises.”

The GasBuddy Midsummer Travel Survey was completed by 2,409 GasBuddy members between July 15 – July 19, 2020. Summer travel is defined as the period between May 31 – Sept. 6, 2021 (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
(Source: GasBuddy)

Meanwhile, the rise in COVID-19 concerns has also caused more travelers to take less road trips. May’s survey saw that 22% of Americans were taking less road trips because of the virus, while July’s survey now says 28% are considering COVID-19 in their travel plans.