Lower gasoline prices, higher disposable income, and a stronger job market are combining to deliver the highest number of Labor Day travelers nationwide since 2008, according to AAA Northeast.
During the long holiday weekend, AAA expects 35.5 million Americans to trek 50 miles or more from home--an increase of just over 1 percent from the 35 million people who traveled over Labor Day last year. Lower gasoline prices are prompting the majority of travelers to hit the road, with almost 86% of those travelling, more than 30 million people across the country, taking their trips by car—an increase of 1.1% over last year.
"Labor Day symbolizes American workers’ contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country, and it’s only fitting that millions are choosing to celebrate with an all-American road trip,” says Lloyd Albert, Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs. “Motorists have not seen gas prices this low around Labor Day since 2005, so New England’s perennially popular destinations can look forward to rounding out the summer travel season on a high note.”
AAA also projects an increase of more than 1% in air travel, with 2.6 million people taking to the skies. This represents the highest volume of Labor Day air travel since 2007.
The projected hike in travel numbers comes despite the fact that when Labor Day falls later in the calendar as it does this year, Americans have historically shown less inclination to travel. AAA expects that the lowest gasoline prices for late August in more than a decade in Rhode Island will spur a significant amount of last-minute travel, and Discover Newport officials say that because Newport is located within driving distance of so many Northeastern cities, lower gas prices are helping spur a significant increase in tourism. According to today’s AAA Northeast survey, regular, unleaded gas prices are $1.14 lower than at this time last year in Rhode Island—a welcome gift for Labor Day motorists celebrating the unofficial end of summer by getting behind the wheel.