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The Psychology Of $4 Gas, Enough To Change Your Travel Plans?

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV
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(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Christina Hager Christina Hager
Award-winning reporter Christina Hager works as a general assignmen...
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BOSTON (CBS) – So… are we willing to pay for gas to travel this Memorial Day weekend or not?  The story seems to change from day to day.

Experts say it all has to do with the psychology behind the number four.

Last week, when the average price per gallon of regular hit $4.00, analysts predicted Memorial Day travel would take a hit.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

“Four Dollars. When you hit that point, ‘OK, I’m going to cut travel. Maybe I’m going to carpool. Maybe I’m going to take public transportation,’” said Bentley University economist John Tommasi.

What a difference a week makes. The average price per gallon has dropped by a mere nickel. When you crunch the numbers, it only adds up to about $1.00 in savings on a round trip between Boston and New York City. Still, AAA now predicts holiday travel will be back up over last year’s numbers.

“When it’s under $4.00, people are feeling better. They want to get out. They want to drive, take the family out, and again there’s some psychologically involved,” says Tomassi.

Don’t get too comfortable, he predicts oil prices are about to jump, and it only takes days for that to translate to higher prices at the pump again this summer.

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