Regardless of the progress of the train, the hype of cycling tourism or the pleasure of hiking, the personal car remains THE essential mode of transport during the summer holidays. According to a recent Ipsos * survey, it is favored by 65% of holidaymakers during major departures, and 74% use it once at their destination. The reason is simple, says mobility sociologist Yoann Demoli: “The car remains by far the most practical, the most mobile, the freest means of transport”.
However, the success story this year is accompanied by a big “but”: Going to the pump, which is enough to give cold sweat to anyone who has chosen a holiday more than 50 kilometers from their home. Compared to July 2021, the price of a liter of petrol has increased by 53 øre on average, and the price of diesel by 62 øre. an increase of almost 30%. An eruption that greatly disrupted the holidays until it caused their cancellation. This is especially true of Martine, 37, and three children under her arm, who responded to our call for testimony: “For the first time since their birth ten years ago, we are not leaving, full of gasoline that has gone from 80 to 140 euros.A hell of a budget when the tour requires two full.Unfortunately we keep closed and spoil the summer holidays for 3 children who dreamed of seeing the sea after two years confinement. »
Holidays under high restrictions
There are also those who travel anyway, but far less far. According to a survey by Holiday Villages (VVF), more than half of French people (52%) considered changing their plans in April due to fuel costs. And 39% of future holidaymakers intended to go less far. Proposals for Mathieu, 40 and from Eure: goodbye to the South originally planned to “limit the exorbitant cost of the trip”. It will be the beaches of Normandy, “1h30 from us. Overall project change. »
And then there are those who have booked too early or reacted too late and who are a little stuck. Virginie, 31, booked everything in February, “as petrol was still reasonably priced. We almost regret leaving 800km from home. But hey, we take fewer excursions. Luckily we chose a campsite with a good pool complex.”
The car, against and against costs
Pierre Chasseray, general delegate of the association 40 million motorists, condemns this situation, where many motorists are caught between the hammer of fuel prices and the anvil of non-cancellable reservations: “You must understand that travel is a necessity for many French people. “Do you want to know how they fit? They suffer: When refueling, they close their eyes and tighten their buttocks when prices roll.”
As for the idea of changing means of transport, they were only 7% to consider it, again according to the VVF survey. And with good reason, Flavien Neuvy, director of the Cetelem Observatory, reminds us: “Most holidays are spent with the family: therefore count four passengers on average. Despite rising fuel prices, a car journey is often cheaper than four train tickets, four airline tickets, four bus tickets … “Same observation for Yoann Démoli:” Regardless of the increase in cost, the car far retains the advantage, French. She has too many qualities for it to change.
Alexandre, 34, to find a way to travel by car to the south while limiting losses: “I collected packages for the first time and I won 103 euros, which allowed me to pay the tolls – about 75 euros – and put the remaining 28 euros in gas and food costs. “
Impact on purchasing power
Therefore, if the route is impregnable, the activities on site may change. Mandatory harness tightening at Aurélie, 40: “We need about three full tanks for our entire stay, and the extra expense on this expense item needs to be passed on elsewhere. The budget cannot be expanded, there will be fewer paid activities, fewer restaurants … ”A situation that worries Martine, manager of the beach bar The feet in water, in Canet-en-Roussillon (Pyrénées-Orientales): “We are at the very bottom of the map, people take long journeys to get down and will have nothing left to spend once they are there. We expect holidaymakers, ruined by the way, are a little stingy on drinks or even sulking us completely. ”
It was enough for Pierre Chasseray to return to the indictment: “A France where petrol is expensive is a France that does not move and does not consume. The tourism system works thanks to long and less expensive journeys. The whole thing is questioned. the economic structure.The whole sector will be affected by this price increase.Or we impose short-circuit holidays, less than 100 kilometers from home, but it is a bit hard for those who live in Melun.That’s why we need real state aid instead for small pushes here and there. We plead for 5.5% VAT on petrol “.
Fewer trips when you first arrive
An economic situation that worries Flavien Neuvy less: “Even in times of purchasing power crisis, certain expenses are devoted to the household budget, especially holidays. There will of course be trade-offs on site – accommodation, restaurant, activities – but the holiday is a period of unplanned purchases, which will increase the budget even more ”. According to the annual Europ Assistance Barometer ** published in June, 74% of French people intend to travel this summer, ie. 7 points more than in 2021, and the average budget set aside for leave has increased by 11%. Jules, 40, wants to be quiet: “As long as the liter has not reached 5 euros, I will not change my habits. »
Still, some decided to drive less when they were there. This is especially the case for Aurélie, always her: “We will leave the car stationary and prefer the bike during our stay. An absurd proof of the importance of the car in the heart of the French holiday: yes, they can do without it … but only when they have arrived at their destination.