Rising gas prices and inflation top travel concerns, overtaking Covid, survey finds

Jessica Thompson

After more than two years of largely staying home due to the pandemic, most Americans are ready to hit the road.

Yet inflation and record-breaking gasoline prices are weighing on would-be vacationers, even more than Covid concerns, according to a report.

Roughly 60% of Americans said they would take more trips this year compared to last year, although higher prices are now causing travelers to scale back their plans and go shorter distances, the survey by Morning Consult and commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found.

One-third are likely to cancel altogether.

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Gasoline prices have run up sharply heading into the peak summer driving season, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and show no signs of slowing down.

The national average for unleaded gas hit another new high of $4.62 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA data. Prices are up more than 50% compared to last year. 

Analysts say gasoline prices usually peak by mid-May, but this year prices at the pump could continue to rise into July and reach about $5 a gallon or more.

Now, 90% of Americans consider the price of gas in their decisions about whether to travel in the next three months, the American Hotel & Lodging Association found.

The same share also say inflation is a factor in their upcoming plans. Meanwhile, 78% now say that Covid infection rates are a consideration in deciding about summer travel.

“The pandemic has instilled in most people a greater appreciation for travel, and that’s reflected in the plans Americans are making to get out and about this summer,” said Chip Rogers, the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s president and CEO.

“But just as Covid’s negative impact on travel is starting to wane, a new set of challenges is emerging in the form of historic inflation and record high gas prices.”

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