With Airfares Soaring, Driving is the Way to Go

With airfares on the rise, a road trip is the way to go, says the Car Care Council, as the cost of flying for a family of four is about four times more costly than driving.

The increase in airfares is not insignificant. USA Today reports that “summer fares for trips in the U.S. are up three percent on average over last year and 18 percent compared with 2010, according to booking site Travelocity.” On the other hand, CNN Money reports that “prices at the pump have been ticking lower in April, and it appears they’ll continue falling as the driving season approaches.”

“Because flying is getting more expensive and gas prices are heading lower, more travelers are finding that driving their own car is the better alternative,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The bottom line is that travel by vehicle costs less, is more convenient and is not as stressful as flying.”

The Car Care Council compared the cost of flying vs. driving based on a family of four traveling 1,000 miles round-trip and found the average costs to be $1,441 and $350, respectively:

By air: A family of four traveling by air will spend an average of $1,441 (or $361 per ticket), based on 2011 third-quarter statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Add to this checked baggage fees, transportation to and from the airport and/or parking.

By vehicle: Even if gasoline prices were to increase to $5 a gallon, the cost for a family of four traveling by SUV would be about $350. This number includes the cost of gasoline plus tire wear and maintenance based on the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) vehicle operating costs. Currently, gas prices average near $3.85, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, with many areas higher than $4.00 per gallon.

In addition to the obvious direct cost savings, going by car offers a number of advantages over flying including:

  • Leave when you want from where you want.
  • No airport parking.
  • No waiting in long ticket counter and security lines.
  • No weather delays.
  • Pack whatever and as much as you want.
  • Stop and stretch any time.
  • More and better meal options.
  • No rental car or taxi expenses.
  • More legroom and overall comfort.
  • No strangers sitting next to you.
  • Convenience and ease of taking your pet with you.
  • Better able to enjoy the ride.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit www.carcare.org.