High gas prices and strained household budgets are prompting 34.8 million Americans to economize their summer travel plans this year, AAA projects.
In its annual Memorial Day travel survey, the auto club forecasts that only 500,000 more Americans, a very slight 1.2 percent increase, will travel from May 24 to 28, compared to the 34.3 million travelers last year.
Of the overall 34 million, 88 percent or 30.7 million plan to drive to their destination, again making auto travel the traditional mode of holiday transportation; 7 percent or 2.5 million will fly, a 5.5 percent decrease from last year; and 4.5 percent are expected to travel by other modes, including rail, bus and watercraft.
According to the survey of intended travelers, 47 percent said they would compensate by economizing: cutting their entertainment costs, staying at budget hotels, staying with friends and relatives, taking shorter trips or traveling some other way than by car. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed claimed high gas costs would have no impact on their plans. These are the die-hard American travelers, who consider travel a mainstay and may be a bit more affluent than most.
Despite seasonal highs in early spring, national gasoline prices may have peaked in April, when prices fell for 23 of the 30 days in the month, helping break a 911-day streak since the national average price was lower than the previous year. Today the national average price for a gallon of gas is $3.70, 17 cents lower compared to this time last year.
In Connecticut, average gas prices also dropped. Today, the statewide average is $3.96, 26 cents lower than this time last year.