Fewer People Planning Travel This Memorial Day Weekend

During the first two weeks of May, Swapalease.com completed its Memorial Day Driving Survey. According to the survey, more people feel that gas prices aren’t negatively impacting their decision to travel compared with last year. However, fewer people plan on traveling during this year’s holiday weekend.

How far do you plan to travel via automobile on Memorial Day weekend?

   20132012
Will not be travelling     21.50% 16.00%
Under 50 miles     26.50% 25.00%
50-150 miles     20.60% 24.30%
151-250 miles     13.00% 12.50%
Over 250 miles     18.40% 22.20%

Interestingly, fewer people plan to travel distances greater than 250 miles compared with trips taken in 2012. What’s more, a slightly larger group of drivers say they will travel more in the under-50 miles region, indicating they plan to stay close to home more so than in 2012.

Did you travel anywhere via automobile the previous year?

   20132012
Yes     50.9% 60.6%
No     49.1% 39.4%

The general sentiment to travel less and stay home is interesting since the survey data show a large differential among people who feel the price of gas will negatively impact their decision to travel. But the current average price of gas is just $.11 cheaper than the same time last year ($3.60 vs. $3.71).

“The diminished impact of fuel prices on Memorial Day travel is not completely surprising,” says Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds.com. “Even though gas prices are still elevated, consumers have had time to adjust their budgets to these new 'normal' prices. Since there haven't been any sharp sustained spikes in gas this spring, consumers are focused more on other factors such as utility or lifestyle when deciding what to drive and how much they want to drive it."

Are fuel prices negatively impacting your decision to travel on Memorial Day weekend?

   20132012 
Yes     28.10% 56.30%  
No     60.60% 35.40%  
Not sure     11.30% 8.30%  

With gas just $.11 cheaper than last year, 15% fewer people plan to rent a vehicle with better gas mileage compared to last year. Additionally, 12.4% more people plan to rent or lease a larger vehicle compared with last year.

Have you considered any of the following for your Memorial Day travel plans?

   20132012
Renting a vehicle with better gas mileage     44.50% 52.30%
Leasing a vehicle with better gas mileage     28.10% 29.70%
Renting/leasing a hybrid     16.40% 17.10%
Renting leasing a larger vehicle     25.30% 22.50%

While the following data wasn’t available in last year’s survey, the majority polled in 2013 say they plan to drive either a SUV or sedan this Memorial Day weekend. The interesting component here is the large gap between those driving a SUV (38.3%) and those driving a crossover (8.3%), which offers size and comfort at a lower price point.

What type of vehicle will you be driving this Memorial Day weekend?

   20132012
Compact     10.20% N/A
Sedan     35.00% N/A
Sports     11.20% N/A
Luxury     15.50% N/A
Crossover     8.30% N/A
SUV     38.30% N/A
Pickup     5.30% N/A

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