Cost of Fuel Weighs Heavily on Road Travelers This Summer

64 Percent of American Adults Say One of Their Least Favorite Aspects of Road Trips Is the Cost of Fuel

SAN FRANCISCO, May 11 /PRNewswire/ — As Americans hit the roadways this summer and fuel prices rise, the cost of fuel is one of the least favorite aspects of long car trips for many adults, according to a recent survey released by discount travel site Hotwire.com.

Travelers may be thinking more about their wallets than the long drive ahead, as the majority of respondents (64 percent) said the high cost of fuel is one of their least favorite aspects of long car trips. Other top things Americans said are their least favorite aspects of long car trips include:

— Bad radio stations/No reception (40 percent)
— Boredom (36 percent)
— Uncomfortable seats (35 percent)
— Kids complaining or acting up (23 percent)
— Lack of personal space (21 percent)
— Back seat drivers (21 percent)

Americans’ Most Desired Driving Companions

What makes long drives tolerable? A good companion. Most American adults (82 percent) said that friends and loved ones are their most ideal driving companions. Half (51 percent) surveyed want their significant other to ride shotgun, and nearly one in three (32 percent) would prefer to drive with friends or family.

Some Americans’ ideal trip included having a celebrity companion join for the ride. Among those who didn’t say their significant other or a friend or relative would be their ideal companion on a long road trip, 21 percent want to sing and dance their way across the country with Ellen DeGeneres, who surpassed reigning queen of daytime, Oprah, (17 percent) as the most desired driving companion. What other icons and celebrities did these Americans think would make a long drive enjoyable?

– Gentlemen prefer blondes, as Cameron Diaz was a favorite among men (15 percent), while only one percent of women chose the perky actress.

– Five percent chose comedian and actor Jimmy Fallon to help liven up long drives.

– Musician and activist Bono of U2 (three percent) and American Idol host Simon Cowell (two percent) were the least popular seatmates.

Saving on Rooms and Rentals for a More Comfortable Trip

Surprisingly, 45 percent of American adults and 52 percent of men have even slept in their car overnight during a car trip. And Westerners (59 percent) are more likely to have slept in their cars than those in the Northeast (31 percent), Midwest (44 percent) or South (46 percent). On long trips, the majority of adults (68 percent) drive more than 8 hours in a single day before stopping for an overnight stay. For a more comfortable and affordable overnight stay, Hotwire offers savings of up to 60 percent off published hotel rates for a good night’s rest and some time away from the car.

Below are examples of Hotwire discount hotel rooms booked in the last 14 days for stays during May:

– $41 3-star hotel, Vancouver, Canada — Downtown Vancouver Entertainment District

– $52 4-star hotel, San Francisco, Calif. — SFO International Airport South — Burlingame

– $52 3.5-star hotel, Orange County, Calif. — Buena Park — La Mirada

— $54 3.5-star hotel, Boston, Mass. — West Loop

— $56 4-star hotel, Dallas, Texas — Dallas North – Galleria

— $57 4-star hotel, Atlanta, Ga. — Marietta Vinings

Renting a larger sedan or minivan can also make the trip more comfortable, by allowing more personal space for passengers. For the lowest rates on rental cars, your best bet is to rent during the month of May prior to peak season. Rental car companies often have an influx of cars sitting on the lot and thus lower prices through early June. It can also be more affordable for travelers to fill up the tank themselves, away from the airport, versus a pre-paid option. And — travelers should always find out in advance if their personal car insurance or credit card covers rental car insurance. If so, it can save a lot versus buying unneeded supplemental insurance at the counter.

Below are examples of rental cars searched in the past 14 days on Hotwire for May rentals:

— San Francisco, Calif. — Mid-size car $13.95 / day
— Los Angeles, Calif. — Economy car $13.95 / day
— Chicago, Ill. — Mid-size car $16.95 / day
— Atlanta, Ga. — Mid-size car $17.95 / day
— Orlando, Fla. — Full-size car $18.95 / day
— Boston, Mass. — Economy car $19.95 / day

With Hotwire, customers always know the total price of car rentals up front, before hitting the road since reservations are prepaid. Hotwire car rentals also offer unlimited mileage, giving travelers the freedom to roam without worrying about additional costs.

All hotel prices are for actual bookings made on Hotwire between April 25-May 8, 2005, for stays in May, 2005. Rental cars shown are for searches on April 28-May 6 for pick-ups between May 6-31, 2005. Hotel and rental car rates shown do not include applicable tax recovery charges and fees. All bookings are non-changeable and nonrefundable. Because prices change all the time, Hotwire customers are encouraged to check rates for themselves.

Methodology

Harris Interactive(R) fielded the study from April 28-May 2, 2005, via its QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,568 U.S. adults (aged 18 and over). Data were weighted to reflect the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results for the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the various sub-sample results is higher and varies. The online sample was not a probability sample.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based research

methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris (www.novatris.com), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide, a Reston, Virginia-based research and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V

About Hotwire

Hotwire.com is a leading discount travel site with consistently lower prices on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Launched in 2000, Hotwire negotiates deep discounts from its travel suppliers to help distribute their excess inventory. Hotwire is a wholly owned business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) . For more information, visit www.hotwire.com.

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