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70% of Americans will hit the road this summer

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According to Hankook Tire America Corp.'s recent Tire Gauge Index survey findings,  58% of Americans said that the current price of gas will be having some effect on their decision to take a road trip this summer.

(According to AAA, the average gas price on June 25, 2012, was $3.41; that compares to $3.59 on June 25, 2011.)

Consistent with the 2011 Summer Gauge Index, conducted at the same time last year, 70% of Americans plan to take at least one road trip or summer vacation that involves driving 50 miles or more.

Americans continue to be knowledgeable about proper tire pressure and optimum tread, according to the survey results. Close to three-quarters of the respondents say they are confident they know the exact air pressure of their tires, while 71% are sure they know what the correct tread depth of their tires is. Those results are consistent with last year's findings.

Dipping this year was Americans' confidence in changing a flat tire. In 2011, 73% of those polled were confident they had the tools and knowledge to change a flat. This year, that number dropped to 67%, broken out as follows:

* 85% male,

* 51% female.

In particular, female confidence is down close to 10%.

"We are pleased to see from the year-over-year data how summer travel patterns have evolved, and that Americans are still confident in their tire maintenance know-how," says Henry Kopacz, Hankook's tire expert.

Here are some of the other results.

* Nearly half (48%) of Americans would most like to travel with their spouse or partner. In-laws are the least favorable travel companions; 9% of Americans would rather travel by themselves or with their pet (2%) than with their in-laws (0.6%).

* 26% of women most like to entertain themselves on a road trip by talking to other passengers, while only 19% of men do.

* Men prefer to listen to music on the road versus women -- 67% to 53%.

* Residents of southern states (73%) are more likely than those in the northeast (63%) to be planning a road trip of 50 miles or more.

The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a quarterly survey of Americans that uncovers their attitudes and opinions about all things related to driving. The 2012 summer installment of the survey, conducted June 13-18 by Vision Critical on behalf of Hankook Tire America Corp., polled 1,012 randomly selected Americans "on summer driving and what is on their minds as the season approaches."

To see what previous Hankook Tire Gauge Indexes revealed, check out

"Hankook study: 61% would buy green tires," spring 2012;

"Hankook survey reveals tire maintenance skills," summer, 2011.

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Coming this fall! A new tire pressure monitoring ruling, courtesy of NHTSA: Will it be a direct system? What will the psi limit be? Stay tuned

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