Driving, busing, flying, cruising, or riding the rails are necessities for emotional well-being and happiness. Freedom from locational stasis is an essential part of high-energy, modern life. Vacation travel opens up the world and is an environmental experience. It brings people together in goodwill too.
Witness the travel boom despite the Biden Administration’s obstruction of petroleum, the preeminent, dominant transportation fuel. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 42.3 million Americans will journey at least fifty miles from home this Memorial Day weekend, a 7 percent jump from a year ago.
“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier, despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at airports.”
It all bodes well for a summer of record travel, beating last year’s post-Covid comeback. Stated AAA a year ago:
“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”
This boom is a reminder to politicians that travel is a quality-of-life issue, and therefore fuel affordability and availability matter.
Running out of oil? No, we continue to find more than is consumed. Declining air quality? False, the criteria pollutants continue to fall even as oil combustion increases. Security of supply? Plenty of home-grown oil to draw upon unless there is political interference.
What is natural will overwhelm the termite aspirations of some to make travel more expensive and less convenient. As Daniel Yergin noted decades ago in The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power:
Hydrocarbon Man shows little inclination to give up his cars, his suburban home, and what he takes to be not only the conveniences but the essentials of his way of life. The peoples of the developing world give no indication that they want to deny themselves the gains of an oil-powered economy, whatever the environmental questions. Any notion of scaling back the world’s consumption of oil will be influenced by the extraordinary population growth ahead.
“Happy Motoring,” as the old Exxon commercial used to say. “Let’s Go!” as Shell advertised. “A full tank of freedom,” as Marathon proudly stated. Fear not, drive in good conscience. Get your kicks on Route 66 or wherever the open road takes you this Memorial Day weekend.