AAA projects more than 38 million Americans to travel Memorial Day weekend
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — More than 38 million Americans are projected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, according to a press release from the American Automobile Association (AAA), making it the second highest Memorial Day travel volume on record since 2005.
“Millions of Americans are eager to kick-off the unofficial start of the summer travel season by taking a Memorial Day getaway,” said Joe Richardson, President and CEO, AAA. “We are forecasting an increase in holiday travelers for the second consecutive year, and the most in 11 years, largely due to low gas prices, a growing labor market and rising personal incomes. If these factors continue, the travel industry should enjoy a booming summer season.”
Automobile travel will see a 2.1 percent increase over last year with nearly 34 million holiday travelers expected to drive to their Memorial day destinations. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent and other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will fall 2.3 percent over last year.
“Although the overall number of holiday travelers is growing, we’re seeing the highest share of auto travelers in history, because the price of gasoline is so low,” said Don Lindsey, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Driving can be more economical for larger families than buying multiple plane tickets, plus you have more flexibility in changing trip duration and distance.”
It is estimated that Americans have saved more than $18 billion on gas so far this year compared compared to the same period in 2015, according to AAA. Americans paid the cheapest quarterly gas prices in 11 years during the first three months of 2016. According to a recent AAA survey, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.
Tennessee gas prices are about $2.09 per gallon for unleaded as opposed to average gas prices a year ago being nearly $2.44 per gallon for unleaded, according to AAA.
AAA expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists during the Memorial Day travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends that motorists check the condition of their battery and tires and have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop before leaving on a road trip.