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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Convenience store retailers can expect their gas pumps to be quite busy this Memorial Day. More than 37 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend, the highest travel volume for this period since 2005, reported AAA Travel.
The 37-million figure represents a 4.7-percent increase compared to the 35.5 million Americans who traveled during the holiday period in 2014. This year, Memorial Day weekend is defined as the period from May 21 through May 25.
Approximately 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations, an increase of 5.3 percent vs. 2014. According to AAA, these drivers are expected to pay the lowest prices at the pump in at least five years. On Monday, the nationwide average price of gasoline was $2.66, $1 less than the average price on Memorial Day last year.
“Following a harsh winter, many Americans are trading in their snow boots for flip-flops and making plans to start the season with a vacation getaway,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA president. “AAA is expecting more Memorial Day travelers this year than any time in the past 10 years as confident consumers come out of hibernation ready to explore national parks, beach destinations and America’s great cities.”
Doney added that improved economic factors will contribute to what AAA expects to be heavy travel volume for the upcoming holiday weekend.
“A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer optimism to new highs and boosted Americans’ disposable income. This is welcome news for the travel industry," he said.
While car travel will increase this Memorial Day weekend, travel by other modes — cruises, trains and buses — will decrease by 3.6 percent to 1.64 million Americans, AAA projects.