DAYTON — AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, almost 90 percent of them by car. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005.
Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 700,000 more people will travel over this year’s Memorial Day weekend compared to last year.
“The great American road trip is back thanks to lower gas prices over the last few months, and millions of people across the country are ready to get in their cars and go,” says AAA spokesperson Cindy Antrican. “and Miami Valley is no exception.”
AAA estimates that Americans have saved $18 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, with the price at the pump the lowest it’s been since 2005. The strong labor market and rising personal income are also motivating people to travel for Memorial Day this year.
Lower gas prices driving increase in auto travel this Memorial Day
Nearly 34 million (89 percent) holiday travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year as a result of lower gas prices. AAA estimates that 1.4 million Ohioans plan to travel this Memorial Day weekend, up 1.8 percent compared to last year.
According to survey results more than 1.3 million of those travelers are expected to travel by automobile, an increase of 2 percent over last year. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline today is $2.24, almost 50 cents less than last year.
The Midwest is currently experiencing gas price increases due in part to Canadian wildfires. The recent decline in Canadian production has impacted the regional cost of oil and is likely contributing to more expensive gas prices in the Midwest.
Still, 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.
“We know the roads will be busy and AAA is encouraging drivers to be prepared for heavy traffic and plan accordingly” Antrican said.
Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent over last year, with 2.6 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will fall 2.3 percent, to 1.6 million travelers.
Airfares, hotel and car rental rates
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 26 percent cheaper this Memorial Day, with an average roundtrip ticket costing $165.
Hotel costs are in line with last Memorial Day. AAA Three Diamond Rated hotels will average $183, while a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel will average $151 nightly. Daily car rental rates will average $62, three percent less than last year.
AAA to rescue more than 350,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists during the Memorial Day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires.
Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.