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High Gas Prices to Decrease Memorial Day Travel, AAA Carolinas Says

Posted May 22, 2007 5:29 p.m. EDT
Updated May 22, 2007 5:31 p.m. EDT

— Highway travel will decrease in the Carolinas this Memorial Day weekend due to increasing gas prices, AAA Carolinas reported Tuesday.

Air travel, meanwhile, will increase as a result even though air fares are up as well – some 10 percent – AAA said.

Gas prices have increased for three consecutive years, and as a result AAA said the number of drivers in North and South Carolina will dip by 1 percent from the 806,000 and 395,000 totals in those states respectively last year.

Prices per gallon have increased 37 cents from 2006 to $3.14 a gallon in North Carolina. That’s just 5 cents below the record high of $3.19 set in September of 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.

The number of air travelers in North Carolina is expected to reach a record high of 107,500, up 3 percent from 2006, the AAA said.

“Higher fuel costs have driven air fares higher this year,” said David Parsons, president and chief executive officer of AAA Carolinas. “Vacationers who would have driven are opting to fly instead, despite the fact they can expect bigger crowds at airports this weekend and all summer long.”

Highest gas prices in North Carolina are in Asheville at an average of $3.17. Lowest prices are $3.08 on average in Wilmington, the AAA reported.