Nearly 56 percent of U.S. drivers are planning a road trip this summer. Travelers hitting the road will pay the lowest summer gas prices since 2005. Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $2.26, 45 cents less than last year. More than half of Americans say low gas prices are the reason they will travel this summer, but nearly 70 percent are concerned about the condition of U.S. roads for their trip.
According to a recent AAA survey, some top concerns for summer travelers are:
- Too much traffic/congestion: 48 percent of drivers.
- Unsafe roads and bridges: 36 percent of drivers.
- “Bad roads and traffic gridlock can make summer travel unpleasant and costly for U.S. drivers,” said Jill Ingrassia, AAA managing director of government relations & traffic safety advocacy. “While low gas prices are getting people back behind the wheel this summer, bad roads can hit them hard in the pocket.”
Over the last five years, AAA found that damaged roads have cost U.S. drivers $15 billion in vehicle repairs, or approximately $3 billion annually. The average driver reported spending $300 to repair pothole damage to their vehicle and many reported having to make repairs an average of three times in the last five years. Drivers are also paying an additional $960 a year in wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestion.
According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, traffic delays kept drivers on the road for nearly seven billion extra hours and caused them to waste more than three billion gallons of fuel.
“With a record 38 million Americans traveling this Memorial Day weekend and more expected over the course of the summer, it is important that roads are safe” continued Ingrassia. “An estimated $170 billion per year in additional funding is still needed to significantly improve America’s crumbling roads and bridges.”
This Memorial Day weekend, AAA expects more than 350,000 million calls for towing assistance, many the result of flat tires. AAA recommends motorist check the condition of their tires before hitting the road and avoid traveling routes with excessive potholes or structural damage. The steep price for bad road conditions are expected to rise even higher in the years ahead. AAA urges lawmakers to keep their eye on the ball to identify a sustainable funding source for the future.
AAA completed a telephone survey of two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone). The total sample size consists of 1,006 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for the survey was conducted April 28-May 1, 2016. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.