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AAA: Cheaper gas means more holiday travel

Posted September 1, 2010

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— About 70,000 more North Carolina residents will travel over the upcoming Labor Day weekend than a year ago, primarily because of cheaper gas, according to AAA Carolinas.

AAA said the proximity of Hurricane Earl to the Outer Banks could reduce its forecast of an 8.1 percent increase in holiday travel. Travelers heading to the coast should pay close attention to forecasts, warnings and evacuations before hitting the road, the organization said.

Gas prices statewide average $2.58 for a gallon of regular unleaded, down 11 cents from the summer peak on Aug. 11 and 16 cents lower than Memorial Day gasoline prices, AAA said.

An estimated 930,000 North Carolina residents are expected to travel during the holiday weekend, despite continued high unemployment and economic uncertainty, said David Parsons, president and chief executive of AAA Carolinas.

"Travel by Carolinians has been increasing all year, and this holds true for the last vacation of the summer," Parsons said in a statement.

Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Asheville, Raleigh, Savannah and Washington, D.C., rank as the most popular destinations, according to AAA Vacations, which tracks hotel bookings and TripTik routings.

The state Department of Transportation will suspend most road construction projects between 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Tuesday to make travel easier during the holiday.

The only exceptions are the repaving work on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, a project to replace the U.S. Highway 17 Business bridge over the New River in Jacksonville and work on the Cashie River Bridge on U.S. 17 in Bertie County, DOT officials said.

Previous work on westbound Interstate 40 in Haywood County will be halted from 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday evening, opening all four lanes near the Tennessee border, officials said.

AAA forecasts that air travel also will rise by 3.9 percent over the holiday, despite higher airfares. AAA's Leisure Travel Index reports the lowest round-trip rates are 9 percent higher this year, to an average of $179 for the top 40 U.S. air routes.

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  • Tacoma4x4 Sep 1, 2010

    monkeyboy
    assume your car gets 28 mpg highway and gas is $2.58 this year ($2.69 last). $2.58/ 28 mpg = 9.2 cents per mile (9.6 cents last year), for a difference of .4 cents per mile. multiple that times 100 miles (for a nice round number) etc...

    Well I'm glad you don't work for the gas companies or else we'd be paying even more for gas... you left out alot of variables..

    No vehicle gets exactly the MPG it says, ex. Traffic stops and gos, are you loaded down with weight, probably running the A.C., Are your spark plugs, air filter, tires, etc. in good shape. How much do you plan on driving when you get there?? If you want to try and break this down into not such a big deal you need to consider all of the variables. Most families who are heading on a trip take at least $40- $100 for gas alone. Try figuring it the other way and it adds up. Remember paying $35 to fill, now $50. These small gas hikes and lows add up to big differences, most of the time they are gas rises...

  • RomneyRyan2012 Sep 1, 2010

    I don't drive any toll roads and the VA roads I ride are in better shape than interstates 85 and 95 in NC, and that includes the 2-lane highways (86 and 40).

  • mpheels Sep 1, 2010

    The flip side of lower gas taxes in VA is more toll roads and roads often in poor condition. Pick your poison I guess.

  • tobywilliamson58 Sep 1, 2010

    If you travel 501 North through Roxboro, watch your speed! They WILL ticket you!! I should know!:)

  • pdsweet Sep 1, 2010

    I'm not sure where they are getting their numbers from as gas on hwy 15/501 south of Chapel Hill has been around $2.63 for the longest time. I noticed on my way to work this morning that it now went up to $2.67. I guess with the hurricane coming, they figured they would go ahead and raise the prices.

  • 27615 Sep 1, 2010

    I agree with the monkeyboy

  • monkeyboy Sep 1, 2010

    what? cheaper gas gets more people on the road? that's horse manure. if you're gonna travel, you're gonna do it regardless of whether or not gas is 11 cents more or less than last year. let's do some quick figuring:

    assume your car gets 28 mpg highway and gas is $2.58 this year ($2.69 last). $2.58/ 28 mpg = 9.2 cents per mile (9.6 cents last year), for a difference of .4 cents per mile. multiple that times 100 miles (for a nice round number) and it'll cost you an extra 40 cents in gas money this year. is that really going to cause anyone to reconsider their travel plans? if it is, you shouldn't be spending money on travel in the first place.

    aaa lost it's relevancy long ago. the only thing they're good for anymore are the 'free' tows and the 'free' lockout service...

  • RomneyRyan2012 Sep 1, 2010

    I filled in Roanoke at $2.30 and topped off in Danville at$2.29 on Sunday before coming back to Raleigh. Wonder how much money NC loses to VA each year? I know that since I started travelling north I spend about 75% less here in NC on gas and buy in VA!

  • heelsrule Sep 1, 2010

    I paid $2.29 a gallon in Danville, VA yesterday on my way back to Durham.