By Stefanie Jackson – Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel data suggests that big hikes in gas prices made only a small dent in summer traffic totals.
“One of the most important drivers of traffic on the CBBT is fuel prices,” said Tom Anderson, deputy executive director of finance and operations.
“While overall traffic volumes during the summer of 2022 were down by 4.6%, fuel prices in the Mid-Atlantic region were at a record high and were on average 44% higher than summer 2021,” he said.
The average price of a gallon of gas in the mid-Atlantic region was $4.54 this summer compared to $3.22 last summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The highest average price of a gallon of gas peaked in June at $5.08, in contrast to the high of $3.27 that was reached last August.
But even with gas prices at their highest, traffic on the CBBT was at its second highest level this June and July and its third highest level this August.
In June through August of this year, about 1.27 million cars and light trucks crossed the bridge-tunnel compared to nearly 1.35 million during the same period in 2021.
Anderson noted that “traffic during the summer of 2021 was exceptionally strong as American travelers had a high level of pent up demand following a year of Covid restrictions.”
More heavy trucks and buses used the CBBT this June through August compared to the same period in 2021: about 112,000 this summer and nearly 105,000 last summer.
A total of nearly 1.39 million vehicles crossed the bridge-tunnel this summer, down slightly from about 1.45 million vehicles last summer, suggesting that in most cases, high fuel prices were not enough to convince travelers to cancel their summer plans.