As gas prices continue to rise nationwide – with California leading the way, at $3.71 per gallon – Americans are planning fewer and shorter road trips this summer, a recent survey found.
Currently $2.93 per gallon on average in the U.S., gas prices are expected to rise to $2.95 by Memorial Day – 50 cents more than last year. The 2018 summer travel survey for GasBuddy.com, a gas price tracker, found drivers plan to cut costs and avoid gas guzzling by limiting road trips.
Fifty-eight percent of GasBuddy's survey respondents said they will take a road trip this summer, down from 82 percent last year. Thirty-nine percent said high gas prices would impact their travel plans, 20 percent more than in 2017.
Americans who do plan to leave town are not venturing far afield – just 31 percent will drive more than 500 miles round trip, a 25 percent decrease from last year, the survey found. The top reported road trip fear was overpaying for gas.
The average gallon of gas in Sacramento County costs $3.63 – slightly less than California's nation-leading mark, but up from $3 a year ago.
In 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill imposing a statewide 12-cent increase in the base gasoline excise tax and a new vehicle fee, which is expected to generate $52 billion in revenue to help fix highway pavements and bridges.
Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy's head of petroleum analysis, said he expects this summer to be the most expensive since 2014, "with a strong likelihood of the national average hitting the psychological $3 per gallon barrier sometime this summer should we see any unexpected outages or geopolitical tensions flare."
The survey cites long-term OPEC production cuts, declining U.S. oil inventories, high demand and President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal as reasons for the rise in oil prices.