Fewer travelers expected this memorial day

Metro Creative

For the first time in 20 years, AAA isn’t forecasting the number of travelers expected over Memorial Day weekend.

According to the travel association, the economic data used to make travel predictions has been undermined by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Anecdotal reports, however, suggest fewer will hit the road in the age of social distancing – even as many areas in the U.S. and the state begin reopening, according to AAA.

“Coming off the second-highest travel volume on record one year ago is a good indicator that travel will rebound eventually,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “This holiday weekend travel will likely be low. However, staying within social distancing guidelines will be the primary focus.”

AAA records note that the record for the lowest travel volume for Memorial Day, considered the start of the travel season, was in 2009. An estimated 31 million travelers got out then, as compared to about 43 million in 2019.

That’s not to say that people aren’t planning to get away later this year. The agency said online vacation planning have been on the rise, though modestly, since mid-April.

Pennsylvanians who do hit the road this weekend will see higher gas prices, with an average increase of 16 cents per gallon. Still, gas prices are cheaper than they were last year – at an average of $2.265 per gallon now, and $3.068 per gallon during the same week period of 2019.

Local averages for gasoline this week include $2.26/gallon in Greensburg, $2.27/gallon in Uniontown and $2.29/gallon in Washington.

The state saw the largest increase among Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, and saw the second-biggest jump of all states in the country, according to AAA.

Pump prices continue to increase across the country with nearly every state’s average pushing more expensive on the week, on average by four cents. At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87. The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2 per gallon was in 2003. Motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill-up that year.

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