TAMPA, Fla. — AAA Travel projects that 35.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2008 and a 1% increase from the 35 million over 2014. This will mark the fourth consecutive year of overall travel growth for the Labor Day holiday period, and the seventh out of the past nine years to see year-over-year increase in volume.
The holiday period is defined as Thursday, September 3 to Monday, September 7.
Gas prices for the holiday should be the lowest in a decade.
An estimated 85.8% of travelers will drive. Automobile travel will increase by 1.1% this year, with 30.4 million travelers hitting the road.
An estimated 7.4% of travelers (2.64 million) will fly, a 1% increase from last year; 6.8% of travelers (2.42 million) will go by other modes of transportation like train, bus or cruise.
“The summer travel season is almost over and many kids are back in school, but an extended weekend and positive economic fundamentals should be enough to convince millions of Americans to take one more trip during Labor Day weekend,” said Brent Stahlheber, senior vice president of brand marketing and travel for AAA The Auto Club Group.
“Historically, more Americans have shown a higher tendency to travel when Labor Day weekend begins in August,” he said. “Although this year’s holiday begins in September, AAA still expects more Labor Day travelers than last year, primarily due to low gas prices, solid income gains, rising household net worth and an improving housing market.”
Motorists could find the lowest Labor Day gas prices in a decade. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $2.56 on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015—88 cents cheaper than the price on Labor Day 2014, and lower than all Labor Day national average prices dating back to 2004.
The price of oil continues to sink, putting downward pressure on gas prices. West Texas Intermediate dipped below $40 a barrel this week for the first time since February 2009to close at $39.31.
The 30.4 million anticipated auto travelers will mark the fifth consecutive year of rising travel volume by automobile. The 2015 forecast is expected to be the second highest volume by this mode since 2003. Low gasoline prices are making it easier, especially for low-income families, to take a last minute Labor Day road trip.