The new WSJ Numbers Guy Phil Izzo (Carl Bialik has moved on):
The number of people hitting the road for Memorial Day this year continues to edge up, as gas prices remain stable for the third year in a row. Why don’t travelers have to worry about pain at the pump this year?
The national average retail price for gas leading up to the holiday was $3.67, little changed from last year at this time and lower than the prior two years. Gas prices can be volatile, but the past few years have been in a relatively steady range.
But there’s another long-term trend helping to keep a lid on prices in the U.S. Demand and consumption by cars has been flat or falling. More fuel efficient cars are lowering the amount of energy consumed, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And at the same time, Americans are driving less for a range of reasons, including an older population and lower economic growth and employment.
We drove all the way to Price Lake for some car camping. A travel cost model would predict that we'd visit there a lot more often than we do.