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Survey says despite record fuel prices, Americans are still planning summer road trips

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Gas prices are anticipated to be the most expensive on record for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. While more Americans are planning road trips compared to last year, a recent survey shows they're still hesitant to lock in summer plans.

By the end of May, gas prices are forecast to be about $4.65 per gallon, a 51% increase from last year, according to fuel price tracking service GasBuddy.

GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan is not anticipating relief anytime soon, with prices expected to peak in mid-July.

“Refineries are struggling to keep up with insatiable demand, so it’s going to be a pricey summer,” De Haan said.

He said a survey of nearly 2,000 GasBuddy members suggested that nearly 60% of Americans intend to take a road trip this summer. That’s one percentage point more than this time last year, when gas prices were nearly $1.50 lower.

The biggest difference between then and now is consumer confidence: Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents have yet to confirm their trips, with 38% of them saying concerns about high inflation are preventing them from booking summer plans.

Nearly 90% of visitors came to Montana by car last year, according to a report from the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.