WASHINGTON — More than 60 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip of 50 miles or more away from home in 2015 if gas prices remain near recent levels, according to a new study by AAA.
The study, based on a telephone survey of 1,007 adults, found that younger drivers are the group most likely to take a trip, with 68 percent of those aged 18-34 planning to get on the road, compared to 57 percent of those over the age of 35.
The survey also asked about day-to-day driving habits and found that 87 percent of respondents are not spending more time driving around town, even though gas prices have remained relatively low this year. But, again, younger drivers are more likely to have increased their time behind the wheel than the older age groups.
Last August, with fuel prices averaging $3.49 per gallon for regular gas — a four-year low at the time — an Edmunds survey found that 75 percent of Americans planned to take a road trip by Labor Day. The current national fuel-cost average, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, stands at $2.62 per gallon.
In addition to asking about plans for road trips, the recent AAA study also explored consumers' general attitudes toward fuel pricing.
The survey found that Americans are more than twice as likely to report that current gas prices are "too high, " rather than "cheap," even though gas prices are much less expensive than in recent years. "Too high" was defined as $2.50 per gallon by 39 percent of respondents, while 17 percent called gas "cheap" at the same price.
Concluded AAA: "Public attitudes towards gas prices have changed significantly as the cost of gas decreased in recent years. The results indicate that Americans may have a lower tolerance for high gas prices now that they are paying much less at the pumps than in previous years."
Consumers heading out on the highway may want to consider downloading one of the many road-trip planning apps available online. For example, Apple users might be interested in the updated Road Trip Planner at the App Store, while Android fans might like Roadtrippers, available on Google Play.
It's also a good idea to check out Edmunds' Top 10 Road Trip Games, just to keep things interesting along the way.
Edmunds says: With summer road trip season upon us, consumers are obviously in the mood to take advantage of low gas prices.