Lower gasoline prices to boost US holiday travel

03 July 2012 17:06  [Source: ICIS news]

A gas pumpHOUSTON (ICIS)--Lower retail gasoline prices will help increase US automobile travel for the Fourth of July holiday period, an analyst said on Tuesday.

US automobile organisation AAA has forecasted that 42.3m Americans will drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from their home during the Independence Day holiday weekend. This is a 4.9% increase over the 40.3m travellers during the 2011 holiday weekend.

Furthermore, the 2012 number will tie the past decade’s previous high set in 2007, according to AAA.

Since the holiday falls on a Wednesday, that will play into the increased travel as it expands the traditional five-day travel period to six days.

“I see people making it a long a weekend with the holiday in the middle because you can take off either part of the week,” said Phil Flynn, analyst with Price Futures Group.

According to Flynn, when a holiday falls in the middle of the week, gasoline demand is typically increased.

Analyst Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy.com, agreed, saying, “An overwhelming majority of our users are only taking or getting the holiday off and those that are taking more time likely are the consumers with more disposable income, so I agree with the figures in general.” 

The 2012 Fourth of July holiday travel period is defined as Tuesday, 3 July to Sunday, 8 July.

Additionally, falling retail gasoline prices will contribute to the increased travellers.

“[W]ith the recent drop in gasoline prices, people feel richer and are willing to travel more,” said Flynn.

The AAA’s current national average for regular gasoline is $3.329/gal, down from the same time period one year prior, which was at $3.565/gal.

Current average price

Week ago average

Month ago average

Year ago average





(Source: AAA)

($1 = €0.79)

By: Anna Matherne

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