For Duane and Deb Feser of Springfield, Minn., the splendour of the views from the Sea to Sky Gondola and overall beauty of B.C. were the draws that pulled them on a long summer road trip. They didn’t need the added encouragement of cheap gasoline while driving across the U.S.
“I’ve heard a lot about Vancouver and always wanted to see it,” Deb said last week during the couple’s 6,000-kilometre road trip.
“When we decide to go, a vacation’s a vacation,” Duane added. “So (cheaper gas) probably wouldn’t be a major factor, at least for us.”
Not that cheaper prices haven’t helped his pocketbook. Feser estimates the couple will save $400 to $500 along the way as gasoline prices hover near decade lows in the U.S.
Those cheaper prices have put more Americans on the road this year, where they are racking up record mileage, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Transportation. And more of them are showing up at the Canadian border.
The rebound in U.S. road travel is a trend that counters a generational shift toward less driving, which, at least in the short term, is a problem for American efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
But it is also contributing to a short-term boom in B.C. tourism that is being felt everywhere from the daily receipts at the Sea to Sky Gondola south of Squamish, to northern B.C. along the routes to Alaska.