According to a latest survey by Hankook Tire, Americans are determined to hit the road this holiday season no matter the cost at the pump.
While Hankook’s latest Gauge Index revealed that two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans said increasing gas prices have had a major-to-moderate impact on their daily driving habits, over half (57 percent) still plan to travel this holiday season. Furthermore, traveling by car is the most popular mode of transportation for all the surveyed holidays.
- When considering the ongoing pandemic, car travel is a clear winner. Significantly more people feel comfortable traveling long distances than they did a year ago (a 15 percent increase year-over-year), and prefer doing so by car (61 percent) vs. plane (22 percent) due to the pandemic. In fact, the number of Americans comfortable traveling by car is up 36 percent year-over-year.
- Cost remains a factor. When deciding how to travel to their holiday destinations, cost is the top consideration for 52 percent of Americans. Other factors include distance to destination (37 percent) and overall health and safety (31 percent).
- But deciding to drive doesn’t mean trips will be longer. Although driving may add flexibility for some, most people do not plan to extend their trips too far beyond the holiday itself. Of those planning on driving to their Christmas destination, only one-in-five (20 percent) will leave four or more days before the holiday. Most (66 percent) will leave within just two days of the holiday—meaning holiday traffic will kick into high gear on December 23.
“The data from our latest Gauge Index signals busy holiday roads over a short period of time,” said JJ Park, director of marketing, Hankook Tire America Corp. “Hankook encourages all drivers to ensure their vehicles are in top shape before they head out to avoid any unexpected bumps in the road.”
Attitudes towards travel continue to shift
Beyond the holiday season, the pandemic continues to impact how Americans feel about traveling more generally. Only 19 percent are willing to plan travel more than 6 months in advance (16 percent were willing to do so in 2020). What’s more, in September 2020, 17 percent weren’t willing to plan personal travel at all; that is down to 8 percent now.
However, concerns about road tripping are significantly less focused on health and safety than they were a year ago. In 2021, 24 percent of drivers cited uncertainty around Covid-19 guidelines or finding safe places to stop as their biggest road trip concerns, compared to 40 percent in 2020. Now, a flat tire or under-the-hood maintenance issues are bigger worries for 40 percent of Americans.
The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a survey of Americans’ attitudes and opinions about driving. The latest survey, conducted November 10-12, 2021, polled 1,005 randomly selected Americans age 18 and older who have a valid U.S. driver’s license.