As schools empty and Americans map summer vacation plans, the same families are glum — but realistic — about the likelihood of spiking gasoline prices.

Perhaps it’s a dependable history of higher summer fuel costs that tipped them off. Nearly half say they will be driving less as a result.

On average, optimistic Americans expect their gas prices to peak in the next three months at around $3.46 a gallon. That’s up from the $2.98 they report paying today, Gallup says. Those car owners must live on a planet other than California, where prices are much closer to $4.

Gas prices have risen about 40 cents a gallon since the year-end holidays. So, naturally Democrats are trying to blame President Trump, anything that might stick in the 22-week run-up to this year’s Nov. 6 midterm elections.

But wait!

This will not surprise poll skeptics. But Gallup polling records reveal that more often than not consumers’ summer gas expectations are not met by reality. In 2011, for instance, drivers expected the $4 price to surge to $4.52. It only went to $4.02. In 2009, they thought the $2.69 price would go to $3.39. It only went to $2.75.

In the presidential election year of 2008, however, they expected the $3.30 price to go to $3.98. But it surged instead to $4.17.

Data shows Democrats, of course, are more pessimistic than Republicans. Nearly half of liberals (49 percent) say they will be driving less this summer compared to Republicans, less than a third of whom say that (30 percent).

Here’s something else interesting. For the first time in 14 years a majority of Americans says the higher prices are not really causing a hardship for their family. Only a third (35 percent) say that, the lowest percentage since 2003 before the George W. Bush reelection.

Now, why do you think Americans have become so optimistic about their life? It seems to have something to do with the presidency. We wrote about that in detail here a few weeks ago.