Memorial Day Travel to Hit 11-Year High

Lowest gas prices in more than a decade to boost holiday road trips: AAA

WASHINGTON -- Almost 34 million Americans will hit the road this Memorial Day, propelled by the lowest gasoline prices for the holiday since 2005.

Memorial Day 2016

According to projections by Washington, D.C.-based AAA, 89% of travelers will drive to their destination this Memorial Day travel period—May 26 to May 30. This marks a 2.1% increase from 2015, and is the highest share of travel by automobile since AAA began tracking the figure in 2000.

While a strong labor market and growing personal income are helping to fuel the increase, perhaps a greater motivator is the low price of gasoline. The national retail average for gasoline at the end of last week was $2.26 per gallon, which is 45 cents per gallon (CPG) less than this same time last year.

“Americans are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel in numbers not seen in more than a decade,” said Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA. “The great American road trip is officially back thanks to low gas prices, and millions of people from coast to coast are ready to kick off summer with a Memorial Day getaway.”

Consumers have saved more than $15 billion on gasoline in 2016 vs. this same time period in 2015, according to AAA estimates. The association expects this Memorial Day will see the lowest gas prices since 2005.

In a recent AAA survey, 56% of consumers said they planned to take a road trip or drive to vacation this year. More than one-half cited low gas prices as the reason for summer auto travel, although almost 70% were concerned about the condition of roads on their trip.

AAA has worked with IHS Global Insight since 2009 to create its holiday travel projections. IHS Global bases its economic forecasting on macroeconomic drivers, including employment, output, household net worth and travel- and tourism-related variables. D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a provider of U.S. resident travel volume and behavior data, supplies historical travel figures for the analysis. 

For the complete AAA/IHS Global Insight Memorial Day forecast, click here.

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