Highways are typically busier during Memorial Day weekend, but truckers should expect more company than usual this year. More than 37 million Americans will be traveling this year, the most in 10 years, according to AAA Travel.
More precisely, 37.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend, a 4.7 percent increase from last year. This marks the second-highest volume since AAA started tracking the numbers in 2000. AAA Travel has defined the holiday weekend as Thursday, May 21, to Monday, May 25.
Nearly 90 percent of travelers will get to their destination by automobile. Approximately 7 percent will arrive by plane, and the remaining travelers will use other modes of transportation. Despite recent increases in fuel prices, gas is nearly $1 cheaper than it was this time last year. Diesel is still more than $1 below prices from a year ago.
AAA Travel has speculated that an improved economy can be attributed to more people on the road during the holiday weekend. Lower unemployment, higher wages, lower gas prices, and a strong housing market have contributed to the surge in travelers this year. The numbers reveal that economic conditions affect travel. There were significantly fewer travelers in 2008 and 2009, peak years of the recession.
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