Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Transportation Home  |  Discussions  |  Traffic  |  Columns  |  Q&A     |      Twitter |    Facebook   |  phone Alerts
Posted at 9:29 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Gas prices could reduce holiday travel

By Ashley Halsey III

This will be the most expensive Christmas for driving on record if gas prices in the Washington region continue their climb to $3 a gallon for regular, the American Automobile Association predicted based on its weekly gas price survey.

The average has hit a two-year high of $2.97, two cents per gallon higher than the national average, the AAA said. While gas prices locally and national have gone well above the $3 threshold in the past, they've never been that high during the Christmas season.

"Consumers have a visceral disdain for $3 gasoline," said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman. "The timing of this couldn't be worse, coming during the Christmas shopping season and when consumer confidence is already listless. Whenever gas prices soar to these heights, consumers spend more on fuel and tend to spend less of their disposable incomes on Christmas presents and other purchases.

"This could have a chilling effect upon consumer confidence. Let us not forget, the last time gas prices spiked like this, the recession kicked in. Research shows that consumer confidence has not completely rebound."

Townsend said it was too early to forecast whether high gas prices would influence holiday travel, but they have in the past. Travel by people in the Washington region dropped by 4.2 percent last Christmas of 2008, when gas prices were 94 cents higher than the had been the previous year.

By Ashley Halsey III  | December 7, 2010; 9:29 AM ET
Categories:  Driving  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: GW Parkway lane closings planned
Next: Water main break on Eastern Ave.

Comments

So the same organization that says high gas prices will turn us into holiday hermits, and will plunge us into depression, just happens to want to de-fund transit in order to keep gas taxes flowing exclusively to highways.

Hey WaPo, do you think maybe AAA might not be the most neutral party to be commenting on such matters?

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | December 7, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Is it really likley that the current increases in gas prices will impact holiday travel? I know that I had to make my holiday plans a month ago and there isn't much I can do about the current gas prices. I may have to cut back on other spending, such as shopping. I think it would have made a bigger impact if the prices were above $3/gallon in October or early November when people were making their travel plans.

Posted by: mikebecvar | December 7, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

So the same organization that says high gas prices will turn us into holiday hermits, and will plunge us into depression, just happens to want to de-fund transit in order to keep gas taxes flowing exclusively to highways.

Hey WaPo, do you think maybe AAA might not be the most neutral party to be commenting on such matters?

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat
-----------------------------------------

As always, transit advocates/road haters (pick one) either don't know what they're talking about (meaning they're uninformed) or diliberately misrepresent the facts (meaning they're liars trying to to dupe the unknowing).

In most major metropolitan areas, including every metro area with a large rail system (with the exception of Los Angeles), toll revenue collected from road use is appropriated for transit. In New York City, 100% of the toll revenue collected from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and Port Authority bridges and tunnels goes to fund transit. It can be logically argued that is why the bridges and tunnels in NYC and Northern New Jersey are in such bad shape.

Right here in metro DC, Dulles Toll Road revenue is being siphoned off to fund the Dulles Rail project. Like the tolled facilities in NY, the Dulles Toll Road is becoming an example of what happens to roads, bridges, and tunnels that are turned into cash cows for transit. Have you been on the Dulles Toll Road lately? I've seen third world highways in better shape.

In California, and in many of the states which have built - and are still building - the trendy light rail systems over the last 20 years, a portion of state fuel taxes is used to fund transit.

It is therefor disingenuous of you to say that "gas taxes (are) flowing exclusively to highways".

And I defy you to produce a credible source to support your claim that AAA wants to "de-fund transit in order to keep gas taxes flowing exclusively to highways".

Next time, try to spread the nonsense you're peddling someplace where no one knows better. It won't work here.

Posted by: ceefer66 | December 7, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Gas prices aren't going to stop anyone who really has drive someplace. That's why the gas companies and retailers always jack up the pump price on holiday weekends - and Xmas and New Years both fall on weekends this year.

I, for one, am not going to let a 20-cent/gallon price increase keep me from doing what I do for the holidays. It certainly won't "get me out of my car and onto mass transit" and it won't make me stay home.

Posted by: ceefer66 | December 7, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

ceefer66, you are correct that gas and toll revenue goes to transit, my original comment was worded badly. Thanks for your polite rejoinder, gotta love the comments section.

Here's the AAA MA letter to their members where they propose to change that.
http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/ourWork/Gagnon_original_article.PDF

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | December 7, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Starting next month, I am riding my bicycle to work every day until further notice. I'VE HAD ENOUGH!!!!!!!!

Posted by: banzaigtv | December 7, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company