TORONTO — 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 per cent of those polled are still planning a road trip, but fuel efficiency and other ways to cut costs are top of mind.
Of those who are planning a road trip this summer, 43 per cent say rising gas prices have impacted their plans. And, while only eight per cent have cancelled their trips as a result, 35 per cent will be taking action to cut their costs.
According to the survey, 51 per cent of travellers will be looking for less expensive accommodations, 47 per cent will be planning fewer restaurant dining occasions, 31 per cent will be travelling a shorter distance, 30 per cent will be spending fewer days on the road than originally planned and 26 per cent will be visiting fewer attractions.
“It’s evident that road trips are still an important part of summer for many Canadians,” says Stephen Beatty, VP, 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.”
Additionally, 38 per cent rank fuel efficiency as the single-most important vehicle feature (vehicle safety measures and cargo space – at 13 per cent each – are also considerations). At the same time, 78 per cent 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,” says 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.
Furthermore, a weekend or long-weekend getaway is the most common type of trip being planned (67 per cent), with about half of the respondents intending to drive less than 10 hours in total. A small group (15 per cent) plan to drive for three days or more on their journey. Family members (80 per cent) are the number-1 choice as road trip companions. Others will be taking friends (34 per cent), pets (17 per cent) and co-workers (three per cent).
Regional points of interest include:
- More journeys may begin in Saskatchewan with 86 per cent of residents from that province saying they’ll be taking a road trip this summer
- Albertans plan to rest easy and economically with 60 per cent of travellers looking to spend less on accommodations to offset the effects of inflation
- Family vacations are top priority to travellers in Atlantic Canada and Alberta, with 89 per cent and 84 per cent, respectively, planning to travel with family
- Only two-thirds (64 per cent) of Manitobans are planning to take a road trip this summer, significantly less than the national average (74 per cent) and far below neighbouring Saskatchewan (86 per cent)