May 14, 2007 – Survey: Gas hikes won’t deter riders

A new survey that shows motorcycle riders are largely immune to the recent gas hikes seen throughout the nation comes at a welcome time.
The average gas price in the United States climbed to $2.99 on May 3, representing a rise of 30 cents in the past month, according to the AAA auto and travel club Web site. That average was nearing the all-time average high of $3.06, which was recorded on Sept. 5, 2005, just after Hurricane Katrina.
Still, a survey of more than 2,500 consumers shows motorcycle riders are less apt to be concerned about the rising gas prices in comparison to other owners of recreational products. In fact, nearly 70 percent of powersport enthusiasts said they will not change their vacation plans because of high gas prices, according to Nationwide Mutual Insurance’s Second Annual Fueling Powersports Index.
Also, bike riders said gas prices would have to climb to $3.38 per gallon before even considering using their vehicles less frequently.
And the amount of money that motorcyclists are willing to pay before cutting back on their riding is rising. The $3.38 per gallon figure is 28 cents more per gallon than last year’s survey showed.
“Our second annual survey demonstrates that powersport owners are adapting to a range of fuel prices,” said Mitch Roggeman, national sales director for Nationwide’s Property & Casualty Specialty Products. “In fact, enthusiasts say gas would have to cost nearly twice as much before they would stop using their vehicles.”
The recent hike in gas prices comes partially due to the ongoing supply problems at the nation’s oil refineries, according to published reports.
Although gas prices have increased since April, they are not far from last year’s price at this time, which was about 10 cents cheaper.
And the price would have to go through the roof — up to $6.27 per gallon — before motorcyclists said they would stop riding their bikes.
However, higher gas prices could be having an effect on how much time riders spend on their bikes. In the survey, motorcyclists said they expect to spend about two hours and 54 minutes per trip this summer, which is about 18 minutes shorter than the prior summer. psb

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