Most Canadians Planning Summer Road Trips Despite Inflation and Gas Price Concerns


Despite the financial challenges posed by inflation and high gas prices, a significant majority of Canadians remain determined to embark on road trips this summer. Conducted among members of the Angus Reid Forum, the 2023 edition of the annual Toyota Canada Summer Road Trip Survey found 74% of those polled are still planning a road trip, but fuel efficiency and other ways to cut costs are very much top of mind this year.

Cost-cutting and affordability are top of mind

Of those who are planning a road trip this summer, 43% say rising gas prices have impacted their plans. And, while very few (8%) have outright cancelled their trips as a result, most (35%) will be taking action to cut their costs.

“It’s evident that road trips are still an important part of summer for many Canadians,” said Stephen Beatty, Vice President, Corporate at Toyota Canada. “But, with so many feeling the pressure of high inflation and increased gas prices right now, we’re seeing an increased focus on the affordability of those road trips.”

According to the survey, 51% of travellers will be looking for less expensive accommodations, 47% will be planning fewer restaurant dining occasions, 31% will be travelling a shorter distance, 30% will be spending fewer days on the road than originally planned, and 26% will be visiting fewer attractions.

Looking for better fuel efficiency, but not yet ready for fully electric road trips

Among Canadians planning a road trip this summer, 38% rank fuel efficiency as the single-most important vehicle feature (vehicle safety features and cargo space – at 13% each – are also considerations). At the same time, however, 78% of Canadians admitted they’d be worried about going on a longer road trip in a fully electric / battery electric vehicle.

“Canadians clearly want choice when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles,” said Beatty. “While battery electric vehicles can be great options for those who can afford them and have somewhere to charge them, it’s clear that we also need to provide Canadian drivers with other, more affordable options that will not only help them reduce their carbon emissions, but also meet their budgets and needs.” He noted that hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and other yet-to-come technologies will all play important roles in reducing Canada’s overall carbon emissions.

Weekends trips most popular, with a focus on family and relaxation

Despite the challenges posed by inflation and high gas prices, many travellers hope to kick back and feel relaxed (71%), safe (54%) and adventurous (44%) on their road trips this summer.

A weekend or long weekend getaway is, by far, the most common type of trip being planned (67%), with about half of the respondents intending to drive less than 10 hours in total. A small, but hearty, group (15%) plan to drive for three days or more on their journey.

When it comes to who they plan to travel with this summer, family members (80%) are the number one choice as road trip companions. Others will be taking friends (34%), pets (17%), and co-workers (3%) with them.