Local News

Falling gas prices expected to boost Labor Day weekend travel

Posted August 28, 2014

— A recovering economy and lower gas prices is expected to boost nationwide travel on Labor Day weekend by 1.6 percent this year, according to AAA. 

The auto club predicts 34.7 million Americans will commute by highway, air and other forms of transportation. More than 6.3 million of them are expected to be from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland and Delaware.

AAA estimates more than 1 million North Carolina residents will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday. Of those, 86 percent will drive and 8 percent will fly.

North Carolina resident Carol Lewis is driving down to Scotland County and doesn’t anticipate she’ll be in traffic.

“We’re going to picnic on the bank of the Lumber River, a family picnic, which our family has been doing for about 50 years. We always go,” she said. “We go down U.S. 1 South and then cut across Aberdeen. It’s not a heavy traffic. It’s not like going on (Interstate) 40 with all the beach traffic.”

Since July 4, gas prices have fallen 22 cents a gallon in North Carolina. The state average is $3.34 per gallon.

North Carolina gas prices are 11 cents lower this year than in 2013, according to AAA, and prices that year were down 25 cents a gallon following the price increase brought by Hurricane Isaac.

According to AAA, states with lower averages include Virginia ($3.19), Tennessee ($3.20), Georgia ($3.32) and South Carolina ($3.14), the current lowest average in the country.

Despite low gas prices, some North Carolina residents are spending their weekend at home.

“I’m not traveling. I’m hanging out at home, but I do sometimes,” said Charles Stallings of Raleigh.

Last year on Labor Day weekend, 14 people died and 403 were injured in crashes on North Carolina highways, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Up to midnight on Monday there will be an increased trooper presence on all interstates and major four lane highways.

In addition to increased trooper presence, law enforcement will be conducting various checkpoints on state highways, including the "Booze It and Lose It" campaign which launched on Aug. 15.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is suspending most road construction work on major routes across the state during the weekend.

Most ongoing projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes will be suspended from 4 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Tuesday.


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  • Tammy Rush Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I remember it being 88¢ a gallon when Clinton was in office.

  • Bill Brasky Aug 29, 2014

    View quoted thread

    No thanks, I'd rather have a healthy economy than a crashed economy. That is why gas prices under Bush went from $4.40 a gallon to $1.80 in a matter of a few months. Today's prices can be directly linked to China....I mean, how dare they live as wasteful as us.

  • John McCray Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    The average price per gallon of gas up here west of Asheville is $3.84

  • Bill Mooney Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    From Inflationdata.com:

    "In 1969 gasoline was $0.35 a gallon but seven years later it had risen to $0.60 per gallon. And by 1980-81 everyone was suffering from sticker shock as gas prices rose above $1.00 for the first time. So in only 12 years, gasoline had risen a full dollar from $0.35 to $1.35. That is an increase of 286% in 12 years! Compare that to the price increase from 1998 where the average price was $1.02 and by July 2008 it had increased to $4.02 and you have a 294% increase in 10 years so it was even greater than the 1981 spike."

  • Bill Mooney Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    "When Bush left office gas was at a $1.84"

    Yes, isn't odd that the price was over $4 during the summer of 2008 and then they dropped dramatically in time for the elections? What a coincidence!

  • Brandon White Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    When Bush left office gas was at a $1.84, an dhe was being demonized as an agent for big oil. During Obama prices have skyrocketed and you can hear crickets chirp louder than criticism of Obama in the media.

  • Bill Mooney Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    "Too bad we can't get the Bush days back with $2/gal gas."

    Nice try. I remember when gas went above $4 during the Bush years.

  • arfamr1010 Aug 29, 2014

    Too bad we can't get the Bush days back with $2/gal gas. Democrats hate the middle and lower classes and know that high fuel prices will only drive more people to depend on gubmint assistance programs.

  • Michael Lashley Aug 29, 2014
    user avatar

    I long for the days around the year 2000 and b4 when gas prices were under $1/gallon

  • thewildmom Aug 29, 2014

    I will take any drop in prices I can get!