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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Road trip! Low gas prices have Americans thinking of hitting the open road this summer, as AAA predicts the cheapest summer gas prices in 12 years.
Friday's national average price for regular gasoline was $2.11 per gallon.
According to a new survey by AAA, 55 percent of Americans said they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices. Lower gas prices have helped motivate Americans to drive at record levels over the past year, and those trends should continue this summer, the organization predicts.
In terms of fueling savings:
- U.S. drivers have saved about $12 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015.
- Americans might save an additional $15 billion on gas this summer compared to the same period a year ago, which would work out to about $70 per licensed driver.
- Gas savings will be even greater compared to the summer of 2014, when prices averaged more than $3.50 per gallon. Drivers this summer might save about $40 billion on gas compared to the same period in 2014, which would work out to about $200 per licensed driver.
More than one-third of the Americans surveyed (35 percent) said they plan to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home, involving two or more immediate family members in the next 12 months, according to AAA.
The survey also found that road trips (69 percent), national parks (49 percent) and theme parks (42 percent) are the most popular types of vacations for families planning to travel in the next year. Rounding out the top five most popular vacation options for traveling families are international destinations (26 percent) and cruises (19 percent).
“Two-thirds of Americans say spending quality time as a family is the most important part of taking a family vacation,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA's senior vice president of travel and publishing. “Whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a dream vacation to a far-off destination, travel offers busy families an excellent opportunity to share experiences and connect with each other in meaningful ways.”