Rocket Fuel

Late Summer Driving Trends


Maintaining Labor Day Sanity

The Labor Day weekend promises to provide a 3-day weekend, the firing up of grills across the country, and maddening, bumper-to-bumper traffic in all 50 states. As the summer comes to a close, millions of Americans will take advantage of the extended weekend by hitting the road, making the days that precede Labor Day some of the worst traffic days of the year.  According to The Cheat Sheet, “Using GPS data to see which times were the worst to leave during summer 2018 holidays, researchers pinpointed the 10 absolute worst hours to kick off your Labor Day weekend — and most come on Thursday.”

Below are the worst times to start driving in some of the major cities in the United States:

  1. Seattle- Friday at 5 p.m.
  2. San Francisco- Thursday at 4 p.m.
  3. Dallas- Friday at 10 p.m.
  4. Atlanta- Friday at 9 p.m.
  5. Houston- Thursday at 9 p.m.
  6. Los Angeles- Thursday at 12 noon
  7. Miami Thursday at 11 a.m.
  8. Riverside, California-Thursday at 3 p.m.
  9. Boston- Thursday at 5 p.m.
  10. New York- Friday at noon

Labor Day Gas Prices

If you hit the road last Labor Day, you likely enjoyed relatively low gas prices during your journey, as the national average for a gallon of gasoline was $2.35. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of those traveling this year. According to UPI, “AAA reported a national average retail price of $2.84 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, a fraction of a percent higher than Thursday but more or less the same as one month ago. This Friday marks one week before the Labor Day holiday weekend in the United States when many travelers take to the road for the last summer holiday.”

After Labor Day, however, drivers should be in for a break at the pump. Per UPI, “Consumer gasoline prices typically decline after the Labor Day holiday. After Sept. 15, refiners start making a winter blend of gasoline, which is less expensive to make because there are fewer processing steps necessary compared to the summer blend.”


The Aging American Fleet

If it seems like you’re seeing more and more older vehicles on the road, it’s not your imagination. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) National Household Travel Survey, the average age of a light vehicle has spiked from 9.3 years in 2009 to 10.5 years in 2017. According to the data, Americans with the lowest incomes are hanging on to their vehicles for the longest.

According to 24/7 Wall Street, “Households with less than $25,000 in income now keep their vehicles an average of 13 years, up from 11.9 years in 2009. Households with more than $100,000 in income keep their vehicles an average of 8.9 years, up from 7.3 years in 2009. The average age of vehicles has risen more among high-income households than the rise in age of vehicles in low-income households.” There is a clear need and market for an ultra-affordable vehicle in the United States.

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