The Memorial Day holiday weekend traditionally marks the beginning of the U.S. summer travel season. According to a forecast from automobile association AAA and IHS Markit, a total of 42.8 million Americans will drive, fly or travel by boat, train or bus this year, up by 3.6% year over year from an estimated 41.5 million in 2018.
The vast majority of travelers, 37.6 million (about 88%), will be taking road trips, up by 1.3 million year over year. Another 1.9 million (7.68%) are expected to travel by air and 4.4 million (4.4%) will travel by rail, bus and cruise ships.
Tuesday’s national average pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.86, two cents lower than last year’s average on the same day and down by seven cents compared to the 2017 price. Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast that summer retail gas prices would average $2.76 a gallon, down 3% compared to last summer’s average of $2.85.
Gas prices peaked last summer at $2.98 in the week before Memorial Day, according to analysts at GasBuddy. Prices for this year’s holiday are forecast to be lower.
AAA Vice President Paula Twidale comment, “Americans are eagerly anticipating the start of summer, and higher gas prices won’t keep them home this Memorial Day weekend. Consumer spending remains strong, helped by solid job and income growth. Families continue to prioritize spending their disposable incomes on travel, and near-record numbers of them are looking forward to doing just that for Memorial Day.”
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