High Gas Prices Affecting Labor Day Travel Plans
BY Laura Palotie
More vacationers are opting for a bus or a train, AAA estimates.
While overall Labor Day travel is expected to dip slightly from last year, the number of Americans taking public transportation to their weekend destinations may increase by more than 12 percent, the AAA reports.
Nearly 34.4 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more this Labor Day, compared to 34.7 million in 2007. More than 83 percent of vacationers (or 28.6 million) plan to take their own cars, a 1.1 percent decrease from last year. Air travel plans are also down, by 4.5 percent.
While those opting for a bus or a train are still in the overall minority (at about 5 percent of travelers), an estimated 200,000 more Americans plan to do so this year than last. The increasing popularity in public transportation is likely due to gas prices that are up 91 cents from last year, the AAA estimated.
Prices at the pump, however, are about 38 cents less now than over the Fourth of July.
"While we are seeing a drop in travel, it is a small improvement over the Fourth of July holiday when we saw a drop of 1.3 percent. This may show that travelers are starting to respond to the recent drop in gasoline prices," said Gail Weinholzer, pubic affairs director of AAA, in a statement.