Tag Archives: oil

Preparing for Oilmageddon

Kuwait Oil Fires 1991 (US Air Force)

Panic Sets In as $4 Gas Prices Begin Appearing Across the US

Back in February of last year there was growing concern that unrest in the Middle East would result in record gas prices come the peak summer driving season, a scenario that nearly occurred as gas prices approached the $4 record set in the summer of 2008 but fell back after peaking at $3.90 in May.

We may not be as lucky this year as gas prices are well ahead of where they were in February of 2011, and $4 gas prices have already been spotted across the continental US in places like New York, Chicago and several locations in California.

Many analysts feel gas prices will exceed $4 a gallon across the US as early as this spring and reach as high as $4.50 by the peak summer months, possibly even $5 if tensions continue to build with Iran.  The press has picked up on this in a big way especially as it factors into the upcoming presidential election.

Not surprisingly, visits to our popular fuel calculator app are soaring as consumers grow increasingly concerned about high gas prices and how they will impact things like upcoming vacations, commuting costs or car purchases.  In fact January visits to Cost2Drive were more than double January 2011 and up 25% from December, and so far February visits are 20% higher than January.

But we’re not resting on our laurels, we’re getting ready to launch a whole new version of Cost2Drive.com with some great new features and a much improved visual design that we’re certain will delight our most fervent users.

Stay tuned for some news of the launch which we’ll be rolling out in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile, we’ve recently enhanced our mobile app so if you have an iPhone check out the Cost2Drive iPhone app and never again wonder what it will cost to drive places.

Happy Driving!

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Are High Gas Prices Impacting Spring Travel?

We Take a Look at Data from Cost2Drive for Clues

With gas prices skyrocketing over the past few months its all but certain that they’re weighing heavily on travelers’ minds, and so we decided to take a look at some data from Cost2Drive.com to see if we could discern any clues to how high gas prices are impacting spring travel.

Unique Visitors to Cost2Drive.comIf we look at the overall visitors to Cost2Drive from March 1 through April 15 we see that the number of visitors has more than doubled from the previous year.  No doubt this is due to a combination of high gas prices and a still-struggling economy that is compelling travelers to seek out these  types of trip planning tools.

The good news is it doesn’t appear that people have lost interest in traveling for spring break as 19.2% of the 62,000 searches on Cost2Drive during this period were for spring break destinations compared with 18.6% in the previous year.

When we take a look at destinations travelers are searching for in advance of spring break its not surprising that locations in Florida dominate the list.  In fact 37% of all searches  on Cost2Drive during this period had somewhere in Florida as the destination, with Chicago to Orlando being the most popular route.  The average trip length entered was 866 miles (one way) which indicates Cost2Drive is attracting a disproportionate share of long-distance car travelers.

Looking at the specific destinations we see that Orlando, Fl was the clear leader when measured against all spring break destinations, capturing 40% of those searches.  There were over 4,500 searches for Orlando (including over 300 searches for Disney World) which represented nearly 8% of all searches on Cost2Drive during this period.  This means that one out of every 12 1/2 searches had Orlando or Kissimmee as the destination.

Top Spring Break Destinations as searched on costtodrive.com

Share of Spring Break Destination searches on Cost2Drive.com Mar 1-Apr 15

Las Vegas was the second most popular spring break destination searched on Cost2Drive with 12% of searches, followed by Miami/Fort Lauderdale with 11%.  The Florida panhandle, which includes Panama City, Pensacola and Destin, came in fourth with 9% share of all spring break destination searches.

When comparing the percentage of searches year-over-year we see some interesting patterns emerge.

For example, the largest increase in share was for Hilton Head, SC, the second  northernmost destination on the list behind Myrtle Beach.  Their share of searches for spring break destinations increased from .7% to 1.4% (+77%).  Meanwhile the largest decrease in share was for Key West, Fl, the southernmost destination on the list, who’s share decreased from 3.2% to 2.1% (-33%).  From this data one might infer that high gas prices are leading people to seek spring break destinations that are closer to home, which sounds like a logical assumption.  This would also be supported by the increase of search share for Myrtle Beach (+15%) and the Florida Panhandle (+26%).

However anomalies still exist, as Naples and Fort Myers’ search share grew 19% while the share for their neighbors to the north in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area declined 16%.  Also the decrease in share for two West Coast destinations,  Disneyland (-27%) and Las Vegas (-17%), might be attributed to the fact that many of the key feeder markets for these destinations are in California, which has the highest gas prices in the continental US.

Its always risky to draw conclusions on single data points, and cause and effect can be tricky to measure, but there do seem to be some trends emerging around shorter trips due to high gas prices.  The good news is, it doesn’t appear that people have stopped traveling…at least not yet.

One thing is for sure however, people are becoming increasingly interested in trip planning tools like Cost2Drive to help them better plan their car trips.

What are you observations?  Feel free to share them below.

Happy Driving!

Why are gas prices so high?

Gas Prices Hit 2-Year High, Panic Ensues..

It’s like that horror movie we’ve all seen, where we’re certain that the monster has been slayed, but just when we think its safe to go back in the water again….

Over the Christmas holiday you may have noticed the signs. No, not the tell-tale signs, the actual retail signs at the service station heralding a new era of gas prices above $3, and if you’ve been reading the press lately the predictions are that its going to get worse, possibly much worse.

Around Thanksgiving AAA set things in motion by predicting gas prices of $3.50 by this spring.  This was enough to get the journalist circling as they could smell blood in the water.   Soon after Thanksgiving analysts further baited them with predictions even higher, up to $4 a gallon.  Without skipping a beat, many of them bit.

And then, right on the heels of Christmas, the ultimate chum was thrown in the water, $5 gallon by 2012!  Let the feeding frenzy begin!  There’s no telling where the actual price will end up, but one things for sure…we’re gonna need a bigger boat (or at least a more fuel-efficient one).

What do you think of these rising gas prices? Share your comments below.