On Wednesday, President Biden tweeted: “In the past 30 days, the average price of gas has dropped by 40 cents a gallon.” He continued, “That’s breathing room for American families, but oil prices have come down $20 per barrel while gas at the pump has only come down 40 cents. Oil and gas companies must pass these lower costs on to consumers.”
For Americans taking summer vacations, falling gas prices have yet to sink in. More than four in 10 (44%) travelers say they are reducing the number of trips they are taking because of prices at the pump, up from 36% in May. A similar percentage are also shifting to destinations closer to home as another way to cope with high gas prices, according the latest survey from the Longwoods International tracking study.
The percentage of travelers who said that concerns about their personal financial situation will “greatly impact” their travel decisions in the next six months jumped to 31% in the first week of July, up from 25% in June.
Still, Biden is right about falling gas prices. Since peaking on June 14 at $5.02 per gallon, the average national price of regular unleaded gas has fallen to $4.63 per gallon, according to tracking data from the American Automobile Association.
So if gas prices are falling, why is concern over gas prices rising? “People still see [gas prices] as high and are feeling other inflationary pressures in many areas of purchased good or services,” says Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International, the travel and tourism market research company that fields the ongoing study. “Travelers report they also are spending less on retail purchases, entertainment and recreation, and food and beverage.”
Even so, there could be good news ahead for Americans who delayed their summer road trips until August. The price of gas has dropped 14 cents per gallon in the past week alone, and if that trajectory continues, Americans could be looking at an average price below $4 per gallon this time next month.
That will surely happen sooner rather than later in the Southeast, where gas prices are currently averaging less than $4.37 per gallon in 11 states. In the two states with the lowest average gas prices — Georgia and South Carolina — a gallon costs $4.14, on average.
Road trippers exploring the west coast will have to wait longer. In states west of the Rockies, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded ranges from $4.93 in Arizona to $6.03 in California.