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Easing Gas Prices to Drive Summer Road Trips

GasBuddy: The national average will hold in the mid-$3 per gallon range for much of the summer.
Danielle Romano
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BOSTON  Savings at the pump are prompting more drivers to hit the road this summer.

More than three-quarters (76%) of Americans plan to take a road trip between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, up from 18% in 2023, according to GasBuddy's "2024 Summer Travel Survey." The average traveler has two road trips planned, with nearly half (49%) expecting to drive five or more hours to reach their destination.

[Read more: Retailers Prepare for Near-Record Memorial Day Travel]

Setting the stage for summer travel is the decline in gas prices. GasBuddy estimates the national average will hold in the mid-$3 per gallon range for much of the summer, with potentially tens of thousands of stations falling below $3 per gallon throughout the next several months. GasBuddy forecasts that gas prices will average $3.58 per gallon nationally between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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In line with major travel holidays, Memorial Day is the most popular, with 60% of respondents planning a road trip, followed by Independence Day (45%) and Labor Day (34%). More than half (58%) of road trippers have already confirmed their plans by booking accommodation. GasBuddy expects July 4 to be the lowest priced holiday at the pump, with Labor Day a bit uncertain due to hurricane season.

Other insights from the "2024 Summer Travel Survey" include:

Gas prices are a major factor in where to stop. While road trips may reign supreme, expenses are a major factor shaping summer travel this year. Approximately 63% of survey respondents cited cost as their top consideration when planning trips and 46% said high gas costs this year have impacted their itineraries. 

While price reigns in importance, few Americans are looking at an electric vehicle (EV) to alleviate fuel costs: nearly 15% of respondents are thinking about purchasing an EV.

[Read more: California Boasts Growing Network of EV Charging Stations]

Although prices at the pump won't reach record highs this year, drivers can leverage tools to save substantially on summer road trip gas. GasBuddy suggests:

  1. Use the GasBuddy app: Before getting low on gas, plan your next fill up and find the lowest priced station on your route. Savings can range from 10 cents to 50 cents per gallon over just a few blocks.
  2. Mind the line: State lines can bring significant changes in gasoline taxes, and motorists should be vigilant during their road trip as picking the right side of the line can result in savings or additional spending of 25 cents to $2 per gallon.
  3. Take advantage of loyalty programs: Many gas stations offer bonus savings or introductory offers that can save you up to 25 cents per gallon.
  4. Consider how you pay: Pay with GasBuddy offers Deal Alerts with savings up to 25 cents per gallon. If you prefer cash, more stations are offering cash discounts this summer.

"It looks like it'll be a busy start to the summer driving season, and while Americans gripe about the cost of gasoline, it doesn't seem that too many are going to be deterred from hitting the road. Great news for those who are planning to travel: Motorists are likely to see more stations lowering prices to $2.99 per gallon or less as the summer wears on, and refiners ramp up output after finishing maintenance," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "Hurricane season is a major wildcard for those hitting the road this summer, but absent a major storm in the Gulf, gas prices should not be much of a hindrance for those taking a road trip."

GasBuddy's "2024 Summer Travel Survey" was issued from May 3–6 to a random group of GasBuddy users.

Headquartered in Boston, GasBuddy, a PDI Technologies company, has delivered more than $3.5 billion in cumulative savings to its users through providing real-time gas price information at 150,000-plus stations, offering cashback rewards on purchases with brand partners, and through the Pay with GasBuddy payments card that offers cents-off per gallon at virtually all gas stations across the United States. GasBuddy has been downloaded more than 100 million times. 

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