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Despite record fuel prices Americans are still planning summer road trips, survey says

Gas pump at a gas station.
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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, they're still hesitant to lock-in summer plans, according to a recent survey.

By the end of May, gas prices are forecast to be about $4.65 per gallon. This is 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.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at edward.obrien@umt.edu.