AAA Predicts Second Highest Memorial Day Holiday Travel Since 2000

‘We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,’ group says
Photograph courtesy of AAA

Automobile club AAA projects 43.8 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday travel period, defined as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23, to Monday, May 27. This year’s total number of travelers is a 4% increase over last year and comes close to matching 2005’s record of 44 million Memorial Day travelers.

“We haven’t seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “We’re projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we’re exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead.”

Road trips are expected to set a record. AAA projects 38.4 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend, the highest number for that holiday since AAA began tracking in 2000. The number of drivers this year is up 4% compared to last year and 1.9% higher than in 2019.

This Memorial Day weekend drivers can expect similar gas prices as last year when the national average was roughly $3.57, said AAA. Pump prices rose this spring but have held somewhat steady in recent weeks, according to the group. “Prices may creep higher as the summer driving season gets underway,” it said. “The wildcard remains the cost of oil, and unlike last year, there are now two wars—in the Middle East and Ukraine—that could roil the oil market.”

Meanwhile, average monthly prices for regular-grade retail gasoline in the United States could increase by more than 10 cents per gallon (CPG) if refinery output is lower than expected, according to an analysis published on May 14 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In its May Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), which serves as the base case for the analysis, EIA forecasts that summer regular retail gasoline prices will average about $3.70 per gallon.

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