With gasoline cheap, plentiful, Americans seen driving more

July 05, 1993|By New York Times News Service

With gasoline cheap and plentiful, and expected to stay that way through the summer, Americans who put off trips during the economic doldrums of the last few years are hitting the road again.

The American Automobile Association, based on a survey of 1,500 drivers, predicted last week that travel during the Fourth of July weekend would be up 4 percent from the same holiday weekend in 1992, with 30 million Americans planning to make trips of 100 miles or more.

Most will pump their own gas at self-serve stations and hunt for bargains at motels. Few said they were worried about the prospect of a gas tax of 4 cents to 5 cents a gallon, which seems likely if the tax bill now before Congress is passed.

Indeed, driving is widely seen as economical, compared with flying. The airlines are not offering as deep discounts as they did during a fare war last summer, when ticket prices were slashed by as much as 50 percent.

As a result, the number of people traveling by airplane is expected to decline 8 percent from 1992, the survey said.

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