U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    4,145.19
    -6.75 (-0.16%)
     
  • Dow 30

    32,803.47
    +76.67 (+0.23%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    12,657.55
    -63.04 (-0.50%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,921.82
    +15.36 (+0.81%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    88.53
    -0.48 (-0.54%)
     
  • Gold

    1,792.40
    +1.20 (+0.07%)
     
  • Silver

    19.86
    +0.02 (+0.09%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0179
    -0.0071 (-0.69%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    2.8400
    +0.1640 (+6.13%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2070
    -0.0088 (-0.72%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    134.9500
    +1.9340 (+1.45%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    23,297.32
    +110.38 (+0.48%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    533.20
    -2.02 (-0.38%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,439.74
    -8.32 (-0.11%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,175.87
    +243.67 (+0.87%)
     
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Fourth of July weekend: 48 million people expected to travel despite high gas prices

In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Robert Sinclair, AAA Northeast Senior Manager Public Affairs, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the travel outlook for the Fourth of July weekend as well as the cost of rental cars and gas.

Video Transcript

- And now we have some aspiring meteorologists on the staff here. I don't know about traffic reporters, but we're take a live look at the George Washington Bridge right now. This is coming from New Jersey into New York. I don't know if this is smooth. This seems pretty typical I guess.

- Looks like a lot of vacation goers. That's a lot of gas on those roads.

- Listen, I'm not quitting my day job any time soon to be a traffic reporter, obviously. But, obviously, we are watching for signs of things heating up because we are going into a holiday weekend. High gas prices do not seem to be deterring July 4th travelers, as more people skipping the airport lines and opting for the open road instead.

We're joined now by Northeast Senior Manager Robert Sinclair to talk holiday travel. Robert, I have a feeling you are much better at scrutinizing those kinds of pictures than am I. But we've been talking-- and we've talked before-- that even with higher gasoline prices, people are still getting out there. And I guess if it's between driving, flying, or staying at home, driving seems to be a really popular choice right now.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Driving has always been the most popular choice. It gives you the freedom to leave when you want. You will have transportation at your destination. You can return when you want. And when the pandemic hit, all the health authorities were saying driving was the safest way to isolate yourself from other people to take a trip. And it looks like the trend is continuing and growing. We're seeing the highest number of people driving this year since we started tracking these things. So driving very, very popular indeed, despite high gasoline prices.

- And so higher gasoline prices, probably a higher price for a rental as well I would imagine right now, Robert.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: For a car rental?

- Yes.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Actually, car rentals--

- I can't rent a jet yet.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: --are down. Yeah. Car rentals are down about 34% compared to a year ago. So that might be part of which is driving, if I can use that pun, all this extra car travel.

- Robert, are you surprised by all this July 4th traffic? Gas prices, look, they're really, really high, especially if you're driving an SUV now. To fill up your tank, you're looking at over $100 a pop.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Yeah. And that brings up the thought that we really need to start changing our vehicle fleet. We've got very large, heavy, thirsty vehicles that Americans are still enamored with. And it looks like these high gasoline prices are going to be a long-term thing. And by high, I mean more than $4 a gallon, with Mr. Putin continuing his expansion, his military expansion, and the sanctions from the European nations and Western nations as far as Russian crude oil is concerned. Russia is a major producer of crude oil, upwards of 9 or 10 million barrels per day.

And global consumption is 100 million barrels per day. So you're taking 10% of crude oil off the market. You have to get it from somewhere else. And it's going to be more expensive, more valuable. Americans, we're drilling like crazy here. The Baker Hughes rig count is up I think more than 40% compared to a year ago. But we can't pull oil out of the ground fast enough to deal with all the extra demand that we're seeing.

- The math is not in our favor most definitely right now, Robert. What can people do to try to help themselves right now? Are there ways of finding gas stations that are less expensive? Are there ways of even driving, driving methods that are more gas efficient?

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Without a doubt. There's some basic rules about gasoline pricing or basic practices. And gasoline is always more expensive at gasoline stations on or along highways, in affluent neighborhoods. So avoid those areas when you're looking for gasoline. And the big box stores and the no-name brands-- we know who they are-- tend to have the cheapest prices. Cheap is a relative term these days. You're not going to find cheap gasoline. But it might be cheaper than elsewhere.

And driving style makes a big difference. And how you maintain your vehicle makes a big difference. 30% of an engine's energy is used to overcome the rolling resistance of the tires. So you have to make sure that they are properly inflated. For every pound per square inch that you are underinflated, you lose 1% of your fuel economy. And that is per tire. So make sure all the tires are pumped up properly.

And slow down. For every 5 miles per hour you drive over 50 miles per hour on the highway, it's like adding $0.25 or $0.30 to the price of a gallon of gasoline. The engine has to work harder to overcome the increased wind resistance at higher speeds. Make your driving style more gentle. When you step on that gas when you're at a stoplight, you're using a lot of energy to get that vehicle that wants to resist moving moving. And so that uses a lot more energy. So slow down. Drive more gently. Get rid of any extra stuff that you're carrying around in your vehicle. Extra weight means poorer fuel economy.

And make sure the vehicle is in top running condition. This 4th of July weekend, we're anticipating 446,000 breakdowns from today until Monday. And so if the vehicle is running well, not only will you get good gas mileage, but you'll save yourself possibly having the inconvenience and the danger of having a breakdown. Being broken down by the side of the road can be very dangerous indeed. So there are things that you can do to help stretch the gasoline that you have in your tank.

- Full disclosure, Robert. That's why I'm a proud AAA member for a long time. It's a very true story.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Thank you very much.

- In this environment, if I'm looking to save money on gas, should I actually reinvest in the higher blended gas? So the 93 octane, do I need to put that in my tank?

ROBERT SINCLAIR: If your manufacturer says that you require it, you should use it. Now, I've seen stories from technicians that say if you require premium and you burn regular trying to save money, the only thing that will happen is that you won't have the performance that that higher octane might give you. The vehicle won't be quite as fast. But, generally, I want to follow what the manufacturer says. So if they say burn premium, burn it. It's a lot more expensive. But probably 90% of new vehicles sold these days can burn regular. So if your vehicle will burn regular, don't think that you're giving it a treat by burning that more expensive premium. You're just wasting money.

- Hey, Robert. I only got about 30 seconds here. I mean, we've been focusing on the US. But, internationally, looking at some of the destinations that people are planning to travel to, if they are renting a car while there, what should they be bracing for on some of the international gas prices that are also even higher than the US right now?

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Well, gasoline prices overseas, particularly Europe, have always been higher than they are here because they've got a lot more tax built in to their gas prices over there because that money is used to fix the roads. And if anyone has ever driven in Europe, they know the roads are just absolutely beautiful and can contrast to what we see here.

So you need to brace yourself, prepare yourself if you're going overseas for more expensive gasoline. But, generally, their vehicles are a lot smaller and more fuel efficient. So I'm sure you won't be getting a big Jeep Grand Cherokee if you're going overseas to Rome or Paris or someplace like that. You're probably going to get a little small little Peugeot or something like a Renault. It's going to make a big difference.

- Yes. And as you say, the delight in not having the potholes that I am subject to in my daily commute. That would be nice. AAA's Robert Sinclair. Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday weekend. And thank you so much for all the tips on increasing gas efficiency and also preparing us for what we're in for this weekend. Thanks so much, Robert.

ROBERT SINCLAIR: Thanks for having me. Be safe. Don't drink and drive.

- Never ever.