With the national average gas price continuing its trudge toward $3 a barrel, pushed by rising crude oil prices, GasBuddy is reporting that more Americans are planning stay-cations instead of traveling this summer as worries about rising gas prices intensify.
According to the annual survey, only 58% of respondents said they would take a trip this summer, a 24% decrease from last year. That's the lowest number since the summer of 2014, when crude oil prices were above $100 a barrel.
Asked about their reasons for delaying their plans, 39% blamed rising gas prices, compared with 19% in 2017.
As one might expect, gas prices in the US are at their highest level in three-and-a-half years, and it's likely their impact will be felt beyond Memorial Day.
"With refineries now well positioned for the summer months, we may see some relief in mid-June, but expect this summer to remain the priciest 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," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
However, as Ken Fisher writes in a USAToday column entitled "Why rising gas prices won't last, even after Trump ends Iran nuclear deal", any oil price shocks probably won't last. That's because US production is rising, expected to reach nearly 12 million barrels a day next year.
Compared to US production, the 2.5 million barrels a day exported by Iran don't really matter as much to the broader market, meaning that the impact of price cuts likely won't last. Still, memories of the 1970s oil shocks that led to gas lines and stagflation loom large in the American imagination, even if the entirety of the generation that makes up a plurality of the US work force has no direct knowledge of these events (given that the oldest millennials were born in the early 1980s).
Though that's hardly any consolation to residents in California and other high-tax states where the average gas price has already surmounted $4 a gallon.