DENVER (KDVR) — It is still cheaper to drive for a summer getaway, despite record gas prices.
Neither airlines nor automobiles are escaping blowback from record fuel prices. A barrel of oil now costs $120 by Saudi indexes, and American fuel prices are spiking further in response.
Since Friday, the average price for a gallon of regular fuel has risen 13 cents to $4.62 in Colorado. Gas prices are up 35 cents since last Monday. Airlines report paying more for jet fuel, sending airfares up 40% since the beginning of the year.
Gas prices are expensive enough to make air travel even cheaper if travelers get good deals, but the Great American Road Trip continues to be a cheaper alternative, particularly if travelers spread gasoline costs between them.
At the current price per gallon, it costs 18 cents per mile to drive, assuming the average of 25.7 miles per gallon estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Data Desk analyzed the cheapest and most expensive one-way June 9 airfares from Denver International Airport for 50 destinations in the U.S. Air travel costs 20 cents per travel mile with the cheapest airfares and 40 cents per mile at the most expensive, on average.
At median prices, travelers can actually save money traveling by air. They would save between 2 and 7 cents per mile if traveling to New Orleans, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Antonio, Las Vegas, New York City or Miami.
At the cheapest fares, however, travelers can end up paying between 2 and 12 cents per travel mile by flying.
At the lowest prices, tickets from Denver to Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, San Antonio, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, Houston, Jacksonville, Austin, D.C., Charlotte, Nashville, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Detroit, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Omaha, St. Louis or Reno will be cheaper than the equivalent gasoline bills from a road trip.
Splitting gasoline costs, however, will eliminate air travel’s edge.
Even at the cheapest fares, a pair of travelers splitting gasoline costs would only save money flying versus driving to Dallas, San Francisco and San Antonio.