Gassed Up: Americans Ready for Summer Road Trips

NACS Online / News & Media Center / News Archive

NACS study shows majority of Americans planning summer vacations will be driving.

May 19, 2015

​ALEXANDRIA, Va. — One in four Americans (27%) say they will take more time on vacation trips this summer and 86% of these vacationers say they will travel by car, according to new NACS consumer survey results.

Affordability is the top reason for vacationers to travel by car, cited by 61% of drivers. That’s up from 54% last summer, when gas prices were just over $1 more per gallon, on average. Freedom to choose where to stop was cited by 59% of vacationers who intend to travel by car, up from 52% a year ago.

While more vacationers will be traveling by car, they also will be staying relatively close to home. Four in 10 (42%) vacationers say they will vacation within their state, up from 38% last year.

Regardless of the length of the trip, vacationers on the road this summer say they plan to stop along the way, whether to use the bathroom (76%), get gas (69%) or buy food or drinks (67%) — and convenience stores will be a popular destination to fill these needs.

While more than half of all drivers (54%) say they will select a specific store to stop based on gas price, quality food options (44%, up from 39% in 2014) and cleanliness/bathrooms (39%, up from 36% in 2014) are both growing in importance for customers.

“Consumers increasingly want to go beyond the gas pump,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “What we are seeing is Americans are seeking out stores that are more appealing inside with fresh food and an emphasis on cleanliness.”

Drivers ages 18 to 34 are most likely to visit convenience stores on their vacations: 78% say they will purchase a snack, 74% will buy a drink, 73% will use the bathroom, and 40% will buy a sandwich or meal. ATMs at convenience stores are also a draw; more than one in four (26%) drivers ages 18 to 34 say they will use an ATM.

Overall, more than nine in 10 consumers (91%) say low gas prices are good for the U.S. economy, the same percentage who indicated so in January 2015.

(Sited from

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