As the summer travel season goes into full throttle, an estimated 41.5 million Americans — nearly 5% more than last year — expect to travel 50 miles or more this upcoming holiday, at a time when national and statewide average gas prices have steadily climbed over the last few months.
Higher gas prices, however, haven’t deterred travelers, who are poised to kick off the summer travel season. “The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokesman. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are motivating Americans to kick off what’s expected to be a busy summer travel season.”
Of the overall 41.5 million travelers:
- 88.2% or 36.6 million Americans — nearly 5% higher compared to last year — expect to travel by car;
- 7.5% or 3.1 million — a 7% increase – expect to fly; and
- 4.3% or 1.8 million — a 2.4% increase – will take some other mode of transportation such as trains, buses, rails or cruises.
Because many vacationers will be mixing with commuters, the nation’s roadways are expected to be very congested on the Thursday and Friday before the holiday weekend, says INRIX, a global transportation analytics company.
For example, the worst time to travel in the New York metro area is Friday, May 25 between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. where delays are anticipated to be three times longer than usual; while in the Boston area, it’s Thursday, May 24 between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. where delays are expected to be two times longer than usual.
Vacationers who drive are expected to pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014, but by and large they’re not cancelling their road trips.
Today (May 14), the national average for a gallon of self-serve regular is $2.87, $.53 cents higher than this time last year; while on the state level, Connecticut’s average price cracked $3 last week and today averages $3.04, $.54 cents higher than this time last year.
AAA’s weekly survey of prices in the Nutmeg State’s six regional areas as follows:
- Greater Bridgeport $3.10
- Lower Fairfield County $3.10
- New Haven/Meriden $3.01
- Greater Hartford $3.02
- New London/Norwich $3.07
- Windham/Middlesex $3.04
- Statewide average $3.04
Today, Mississippi registered the lowest average per-gallon prices in the nation at $2.57; followed by Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina, all at $2.58. California and Hawaii continue to lead the pack with highest prices at $3.69 and $3.67, respectively. Connecticut moved up to the 9th spot with highest prices in the nation.
AAA projections are based on economic forecasting and research by HIS Markit, a London-based business information provider that has teamed with AAA since 2009 to analyze travel trends during major holidays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast is available here.