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WTOP Poll: Pricey gas means vacation close to home

Friday - 5/25/2012, 5:05am  ET

WASHINGTON - Nearly half of Washington-area residents say gas prices are still high enough to make them less likely to drive for a vacation or getaway, according to a WTOP Beltway Poll.

The poll also finds that gas prices can have a strong impact on local commuters.

Thirty-nine percent say current gas prices make them less likely to commute by car. Forty-two percent are more likely to telecommute.

Many people will be traveling during the holiday weekend. Still, 49 percent say high gas prices make them less likely to drive for a vacation and more than half (54 percent) say they are less likely to fly, as well.

Gas prices have dropped in recent weeks, but the latest WTOP Pain In The Gas survey shows the average price in the region is still $3.70 a gallon.

People who are single and don't have kids are more apt to change their vacation plans because of high gas prices. Sixty-seven percent of single residents are less likely to drive for a vacation or getaway, compared to 49 percent overall.

Seventeen percent say gas prices don't impact their plans to drive on vacation.

As for commuters, 34 percent say gas prices make it more likely they will take mass transit. D.C. residents are the most likely to leave the car at home: 54 percent say high gas prices make them more likely to take transit. That compares to 31 percent for Maryland and Virginia residents.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.

The D.C. metro phone survey was conducted among 550 adults age 18 and older, between May 11-18, 2012. This included representative samples of 200 people in Virginia, 250 in Maryland and 100 in the District.

Heart+Mind Strategies is a non-partisan market research consultancy based in Reston, Va.

WTOP's Mitchell Miller contributed to this report. Follow Mitch and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)