Bloomberg News

Vacation Trips May Shrink as Gasoline Price Climbs, AAA Reports

March 27, 2012

Rising U.S. gasoline prices will probably prompt Americans to visit tourist sites closer to home and limit their itineraries, travel adviser AAA said.

Mark Brown, executive vice president for the non-profit group with more than 53 million members, told a House Natural Resources Committee hearing that its members were making adjustments as gasoline approached $4 a gallon.

“Members are not canceling their vacation driving plans at this time, but may scale back the distances and the number of destinations,” Brown said in written testimony distributed before today’s hearing in Washington.

As oil and gasoline prices rise, House Republicans and the energy industry have urged President Barack Obama’s administration to increase oil production and approve building TransCanada Corp’s (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to limit dependence on unstable supplies from the Middle East.

Crude oil advanced more than 8 percent this year, and the average price for unleaded gasoline at the pump climbed about 19 percent to $3.90 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data.

Sam Gilliland, chief executive officer of Sabre Holdings Corp (TSG:US)., the largest U.S.-based global air-fare distribution system, told the committee the U.S. needs to support vehicles using natural gas and electric power to limit the impact of rising oil prices.

“Even if we produce more domestic oil and use less, our nation will still be subject to the price volatility inherent in the global oil market,” Gilliland said in prepared remarks. “We must fundamentally break oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector.”

More than half of Americans who plan to travel by car this summer said further gasoline-price increases would make them take fewer trips or spend less on meals, shopping and entertainment, Gilliland said, citing data from the U.S. Travel Association.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katarzyna Klimasinska in Washington at kklimasinska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net


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