High Gas Prices Impacting American’s Travel Plans, According to Survey; Thrifty Car Rental Eases Summer Gas Woes With Free Gas Sweepstakes

TULSA, Okla., June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Eighty percent of consumers in a recent survey said rising gas prices have impacted their household budgets, with 39 percent indicating that high gas prices have forced them to stay home more often. The national study of 1,000 consumers was commissioned by Thrifty Car Rental, a subsidiary of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:DTG) .

Of those people who normally rent a car for their summer vacation, but have elected not to rent this summer, 64 percent said their decision was impacted by the cost of gasoline.

“Clearly, gas prices are weighing heavily on consumers’ minds,” said Brian Carpenter, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Advertising for Thrifty Car Rental, “but I’m not sure those concerns are translating into people canceling their vacations. Thrifty is achieving outstanding rental volumes this summer. If anything, we’re seeing signs that customers are cutting costs in other aspects of their lives, instead of sacrificing their summer fun. Almost 30 percent of the people we talked to said they had made no changes in their lifestyle due to gas prices, and have no plans to do so.”

More than two-thirds of respondents, however, have made, or plan to make, changes due to high gas prices. Some of the common changes consumers are making include:

* Staying home more often (39 percent);
* Revising travel plans (18 percent);
* Canceling travel (12 percent);
* Making no changes, and no plans to do so (29 percent).

Stephanie Abrams, host of the nationally-syndicated radio program Travel with Stephanie Abrams!, says sacrificing hard-earned vacation time may cost consumers more than they think. “My mother used to say, if you don’t go and take that break, you’re going to give that money to the doctor,” said Abrams, “because there is a relationship between [stress and] the stress-busting vacation. One of the things that trouble me is when people put off experiences in their lives. You have to balance what is the value, not just what is the cost. In reality, when you start taking the cost of travel and amortize it over the experience and the memories, it will come out to pennies in your lifetime.”

Other findings in the survey:
* Females were significantly more likely than males to describe the
household impact of high gas prices as “very significant” (41 percent
versus 27 percent of males);
* Those with children under the age of 18 felt a greater impact on their
budgets. Forty percent of these respondents said the impact of gas
prices on their budget was “very significant” compared to 31 percent of
those without children in the home;
* The less total household income, the greater the impact; and
* Respondents in the South region of the country were significantly more
likely to say gas prices had impacted their budgets (40 percent)
compared to respondents in the West (31 percent) and Midwest
(31 percent).

Abrams says it’s important to make those hard-earned dollars count. “If you want to travel and take that well-deserved breakaway, make it a priority and decide to pass up other temptations,” Abrams said. “Eliminate the over- rated pleasures in favor of those experiences that make life worth living. Taking time to reconnect with special interests and special friends and family is not a frivolous way of spending time and money, but a prescription for a happy and meaningful life.”

Summer Gas Sweepstakes

To take the heat off travelers’ summer gas woes, Thrifty Car Rental recently launched a sweepstakes on http://www.thrifty.com/ . Every day from June 1, 2005 through July 31, 2005, Thrifty will award a prize of a year’s worth of free gas in the U.S.

Sixty-one lucky winners will be awarded a pre-paid gas card good toward a year’s supply of gasoline. Each daily winner will receive one pre-paid gas card worth $1,800, which represents the average fuel costs for one vehicle yearly based on the Department of Energy’s estimate of an average of 14 gallons of gas per week, filling up 52 weeks per year at approximately $2.50 per gallon.

No purchase is required to enter the sweepstakes, but winners must be at least 21, a U.S. resident and have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

To enter, visit http://www.thrifty.com/ and follow the sweepstakes entry instructions on the Web site. Winners of the 61 daily prizes will be randomly drawn from among all entries received by 5 p.m. CDT that day. Non-winning entries remain eligible for future drawings.

The American Express “Fill-it-up” value card may be used at participating gasoline stations that honor the card. The card expires 12 months after awarded. Entries are limited to one per person. Additional details about the contest are available online at http://www.thrifty.com/ .

Thrifty Car Rental is a subsidiary of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc., a Fortune 1000 Company headquartered in Tulsa, Okla. Together with its corporately-owned locations and those of its franchise owners, the Thrifty Car Rental brand serves value-conscious travelers from more than 1,100 locations in 64 countries.

Click Here for Other Travel Sweepstakes: http://www.itravelmag.com/travel-sweepstakes.php

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