A new survey found that despite an almost 35% year-over-year increase in gas prices, 82% of Americans who are planning to travel this Memorial Day will do so by car. Overall travel across all modes of transportation is up 8% for the holiday weekend compared to 2021, but car travel is down slightly (7%) primarily due to high gas prices, a general desire to save money due to rising inflation, and lingering COVID-19 concerns.
“Record-high gas prices aren’t scaring away as many avid road trippers this Memorial Day as one would think,” said Jenni Newman, Cars.com’s editor-in-chief. “It seems many Americans are willing to pay a premium to take some time off and celebrate the holiday. But the nature of the road trip is changing: Carpooling is no longer just for work and school commutes, and routes and destinations are being shaped by the availability of EV infrastructure for a growing number of travelers.”
Eighty-seven percent of consumers surveyed by Cars.com say they will be traveling with others this holiday weekend, with 51% citing high gas prices as a driver. For those traveling by car, 11% will be taking an electric vehicle on the road.
Newman adds, “An EV road trip means more than just relief at the pump; it adds a whole new element to the trip including accounting for charging opportunities across a country that’s still building up its EV infrastructure.”
EV-Powered Memorial Day Road Trip
According to Cars.com’s survey, 47% of EV owners take three to five road trips a year. While most road trips look similar despite your vehicle type, there are a few key differences EV drivers should be prepared for:
- Save almost 25% at the pump: With gas prices in the U.S. now hovering around $4.59 on average per gallon for regular, EV drivers could save an average of $110-$180 for those three to five trips this year, assuming they are traveling about 200 miles at a time. While savings can vary depending on the vehicle, weight and other factors that impact fuel efficiency, if, for example, a driver of a 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan will spend $18.36 in gas (at $4.59 a gallon) to go 100 miles, a driver of a comparable 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 will spend $4.32 per kilowatt-hour ($1.08 charge) to go 100 miles. That’s almost 25% more for a gas power vehicle than an EV, according to the EPA.
- Pre-trip planning is a must: More than three-fourths (76%) of EV drivers surveyed map out charging stations before setting out on a trip. Interestingly, respondents over 55 are significantly more likely (60%) to not map out charging stations prior to starting out than those 18-34 (15%) and 35-54 (11%).
- Expect more stops along the way: EV drivers should plan for more frequent stops (two or three times) compared to their fuel-powered counterparts (one or two times) to recharge their vehicle. Clearly, risk takers who ride the fuel gauge past “E” exist in the EV world, too; the majority of EV owners say they charge at 30% or lower despite industry experts’ recommendations to charge at about 50%.
*All survey data is from a Cars.com consumer survey, May 4-9, 2022, 1,620 responses.