Prices at the pump are causing a drop in fuel consumption, an expert said Monday. Still, this does not mean completely unburdened freeways and car-free roads.
“The fact that airplanes are starting to sort of reduce production, reduce flights… might mean some people are more likely to do road trips,” Rachel Ziemba, founder of research firm Ziemba Insights, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.
“I think on the margins, it costs a lot more to take those trips. And so we’ll see some people who are going or staying closer to home, maybe stay patient,” she added. Gasoline prices have been soaring at almost an average of $5 per gallon across the United States.
Nearcations will most likely be a thing as more travelers are likely to choose road-tripping than flying, opting to stay closer to home. For RV travel, it means driving fewer miles and only going on short trips for some campers.
In March and June, Trader Interactive surveyed 3,700 RV travelers regarding their summer travel plans. The results suggest that more than half (58%) of RVers are adjusting their road trips. Among those surveyed, 70% are traveling shorter distances and shortening their trips.
Yet, just as Ziemba and experts in the campground and RV industry predict that people are likely to still go on road trips but in ways that will consume less gas, numbers also suggest a drop in the intent to travel.
A Bloomberg article published on June 29 revealed that Americans considering taking a vacation by car in the next six months fell to 22.7% in June.
This data is potentially reflective of changing behavior brought about by gas prices and the cost of goods that keep climbing day by day. Trader Interactive’s survey of RVers seems to connote the same.
Of the 3,700 surveyed, 21% of the RV travelers are canceling their summer vacation plans outright due to surging fuel prices.
If the area where they plan to RV offers gas prices above $5 per gallon, half of the travelers said they would cancel their summer vacations, which is not far from happening as 54% said they changed their trip plans when gas prices rose to $4 per gallon.
Even so, most travelers will still push through with their plans. Highways are congested as people still seek to travel during the Fourth of July weekend. Airports across the country are also packed with Americans wanting a holiday getaway.
Overall, most Americans still choose to vacation, but in ways where they might have to tighten their belts.
On a good note, accommodation providers such as Blue Water are offering deals, letting guests save more by staying longer to help offset some costs.
As reports claim, RVers will still roll on the road even as high gas prices ensue. While RV travel may or may not wane, it is here to stay as it—and camping—prove to still be the cheapest travel options, and those in the industry must do their role to help keep these experiences as accessible as possible.