The 2022 fuel crisis is taking its toll on American travelers. After two years of enduring major economic challenges resulting from Covid, families are now faced with an unprecedented surge in gas prices that is affecting their vacation plans. In other words, traveling is getting more expensive, especially for those driving long distances this summer.
While there is little we can do concretely, in the short term, about U.S. dependency on foreign oil, there are online tools we can use to calculate costs and help fulfill our travel plans. We have already introduced you to a travel sheet that makes finding cheaper flights easier – now, we will show you how to estimate fuel prices for your upcoming road trip.
After all, knowing how much you will likely spend in gas for your drive to the beach in advance makes budget planning a lot easier:
Start by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy’s Trip Calculator official website. On the first page, you will be expected to specify what kind of car you will use for traveling. As any experienced driver will know, depending on vehicle type, manufacturer and other factors, the amount of fuel needed, and thus price, can vary dramatically.
As the Honda Accord has been named one of the most popular cars in the U.S. in 2022, we will use in our simulation. When calculating your own costs, you are free to select the most suitable option based on Year, Make, Model, and other specifications. Identifying the exact model of the car is paramount for calculation of costs.
On the next page, which is still part of Step 1, you will be directed to a page where you can visualize the selected vehicle, add more, or then edit information. As we are running a test, we have opted for the popular 2022 Honda Accord, 1.5 L, 4 cyl, Automatic (variable gear ratios), Turbo, Regular model, which will later influence fuel estimates.
On Step 2, you can enter more details of your trip, such as starting point, any intermediate stops you are planning to make, and of course, destination. With our 2022 Honda Accord, we will be ‘driving’ from the small city of Santa Rosa, California, to the metropolitan Los Angeles. They are both two of the top rated domestic destinations for Americans this year.
As the Santa Rosa-Los Angeles route is a 428 mile drive, lasting about 6 hours and 43 minutes, we will add a stopover for refreshments in the picturesque Kettleman City, located halfway to Los Angeles. Having informed the route, we will then click on the ‘Calculate the Trip’ button, which can be found beneath the Trip Planner.
Traveling between these cities on a 2022 Honda Accord, on June 2, 2022, we would be expected to pay USD 59.02 in fuel. Other important information can be seen here, such as the amount of city driving – in this case, 55%, or more than half of the joruney – and even directions and a detailed map powered by Google.
Per gallon, that is USD 4.49, somewhat cheaper than the current national average of USD 4.71 as of June 2. Still, California has been one of the most heavily affected states during the fuel crisis, with current estimates indicating customers should expect to pay USD 6.21 per gallon, on average, when driving in the Golden State.
Driving Is Getting More Expensive Than Flying
For other longer routes, travelers can expect to pay anywhere between USD 100 and USD 150 on fuel only. Driving a 2022 Honda Accord from Chicago to New York City, for example, will cost you $107.33 in fuel. That is noticeably more expensive than many one-way flight, low cost flight tickets to a number of U.S. destinations.
Again, these results are based on vehicle selection, departure point and destination. Users can edit vehicles ‘to personalize the MPG’ and access more accurate fuel prices, as well as visualize the best possible routes. Whatever the destination is, one thing is for certain: roadtrips in the U.S. have inevitably got costlier, and prices could continue fluctuating for months to come.
What Is Behind The 2022 Fuel Crisis?
Speaking to The Guardian, Shore Capital analyst Craig Howie states that there are ‘various factors at play‘ that influence the rise in fuel prices. Among them, a ‘stretching demand’ as more people take to the road after Covid, concerns regarding Russian oil imports in the wake of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, and even ‘lower refinery runs’ in China, that is yet to reopen.
As a result, flight prices, which are heavily affected by the cost of jet fuel, have been rising exponentially. Leading the way among airlines, United is taking more aggressive action to cap airfares amid the fuel surge, in a move that could help make air travel more affordable again. Gas station customers, on the other hand, have taken the brunt of it with more volatile prices.
For that reason, travelers will have to get more creative to try and mitigate the impacts of the current crisis when travelling this summer – either by using the new Wyndham road trip planning app, or deciding on a destination based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Trip Calculator.
For more inspiration, check out these 5 epic road trips you can take in the U.S. for summer 2022.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories