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Study: One-Third of Consumers Plan to Hit Road for Winter Holidays

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Dec. 4, 2014—With gas prices at five-year lows, new research from DMEautomotive suggests that one-third of consumers plan to drive out of town for the 2014 winter holiday, and roughly 79 percent of those will be hitting the road in their own vehicles, rather than renting a car.

And, according to the study, these holiday travelers are driving far: More than 50 percent say they intend to drive 400-plus miles round-trip, with one in six planning to rack up over 1,000 miles on their odometer.

"Gas prices are the lowest they have been in five years, so it makes sense that a large number of consumers are reporting that they plan to drive long distances over the winter holidays," Mary Sheridan, DMEa manager of research and analytics, said in a release. "We are pleased to see that consumers are taking care to ensure their vehicles are ready to hit the road. Auto service centers should take note: 90% of these travelers plan some pre-trip vehicle prep, including oil changes, fluid and tire checks, and, for more than one third of those driving over 600 miles, a full vehicle inspection."

The findings from the study of approximately 2,000 consumers come at a time when gas prices have been on a non-stop 60-day decline, with the current national average price of a gallon of gas at $2.81 a gallon.

Nine out of 10 vehicle owners plan at least some vehicle prep before hitting the road.  Checking tire air pressure, topping off fluids, getting an oil change and cleaning the vehicle rank as their most performed pre-trip tasks. Consumers who are driving the longest distances are the most likely to perform pre-trip maintenance, with nearly 80 percent of those driving over 600 miles planning to check air pressure in their tires, 66 percent filling up fluids, 53 percent getting an oil change and over one-third planning a full vehicle inspection.

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