Improving economy, lower gas prices fuel Labor Day travel plans
Posted August 29, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolinians are expected to take the roads this holiday weekend, thanks to an improving economy and lower gas prices.
Motor club AAA Carolinas said it expects 972,600 state residents will travel more than 50 miles from home during the five-day Labor Day holiday period. The estimate is a 5 percent increase over last year’s travelers.
“Gas prices heading into this weekend are the lowest they’ve been for any Labor Day holiday since 2010,” said David E. Parson, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.
Gasoline price website GasBuddy.com shows that North Carolina’s current fuel price average is $3.49 going into the holiday weekend. That is a decrease from last year’s average price of $3.78 per gallon.
Lower gas prices were welcomed news for North Carolina State University student Sadie Rockefeller, who plans to travel home to Ellicott City, Md., this weekend.
“I try to make it home for every big holiday,” she said. “I even carpool with friends or look for inexpensive flights to save money.”
The travel website TripAdvisor said 6 percent more Americans are planning Labor Day weekend trips, compared with last year. Of those traveling, 63 percent will get where they're going by car, according to a TripAdvisor survey. The most popular destination is New York City, followed by Denver, Seattle, Philadephia and Boston.
With the expected increase in traffic on the roads, law enforcement officers are reminding travelers to be safe.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol’s “Booze It & Lose It” campaign will be in full effect through the weekend. The campaign includes checkpoints and stepped-up patrols in an effort to remove intoxicated drivers from the roads.
Airline passengers are expected to account for about 8 percent of the state’s Labor Day travelers, according to AAA. Airfares have increased 4 percent this year, with an average lowest round-trip of $214 for the top 40 U.S. air routes, said AAA.