So what does summer travel for leisure mean to you – driving with the top down to a beach resort? A nice hotel room, fun restaurants, shopping for beach wear and surf gear? Well, perhaps it’s time you woke up to the oil shock of 2011. At a time places to go in vacation
when pumping gas costs between $4 and $5 a gallon depending on where you live, don’t be surprised if half of the money you counted on for your summer travel fun disappears at the gas station as you fill that bottomless pit of 30-gallon gas tank up.
So how much does the average family spend on gas? In the typical American home, a full 10% of the family budget gets spent on gas today. It used to just be 6%. That’s quite a bite out of the family budget. That is what families would have saved up and spent on fun stuff like summer travel for the family together. With about $500 a month spent on gas, families are apparently spending more on it than entertainment or clothes. In some cases, in families with no children, modest-sized motorcycles are replacing cars for fuel savings.
People traveling for their Memorial Day holidays take to the road on their motorcycles and just eat bags of chips at the gas station rather than go to a restaurant. In some cases, family summer travel has been put off altogether. People these days actually keep a mental note the whole month of how much gas they have left in the tank. They hate the feeling of how when they are driving, they run through gallon after gallon of gas. The American dream of taking to the open road whenever one feels like it, is beginning to sputter like a car running out of juice. What are people supposed to do when they don’t get raises and the price of gas sends everything up (including the price of gas)?
Gas prices can be a funny thing. They can be like electricity bills. You know that every little thing that you do through the day, you’re running through something that could cost you a lot in a little while. Energy costs make people feel psychologically poorer than they actually are. For summer travel this year, it is estimated that the average American family will spend $700. That’s $100 down from what it used to be just a year ago. People this year went on shorter Memorial Day trips and Independence Day trips than they used to.
Drivers around the country have been cutting back on their demand for gas. This has been such a powerful thing that the price of gas is set to fall very soon to slightly over $3 a gallon. That still wouldn’t be good enough. The country is set up for, used to and prepared for gas that costs no more than $2.50 a gallon.