Despite wallet-walloping gas prices, more Americans are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day holiday weekend vs. last year.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects 34.8 million individuals will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming long weekend, representing a 1.2 percent (or 500,000 travelers) increase compared to the 34.3 million people who traveled during the 2011 holiday.
AAA defines the Memorial Day holiday travel period as Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28.
The organization predicts that 1.8 million Illinoisans will be traveling during the weekend, a 0.8 percent increase compared to last year. Slightly more than 1.6 million will be driving—a 0.7 percent increase vs. 2011.
“The overall domestic economic picture continues to improve slightly,” said Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago Regional President. “However, American consumers faced a new challenge this year as steadily increasing gas prices throughout the spring significantly squeezed many household budgets.”
Perhaps less fresh in consumers’ memories is the fact that current Illinois gas prices are cheaper now than they were one year ago. AAA reported in mid-May that average statewide prices were $3.91 compared to $4.27 last year at the same time.
“Americans will still travel during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but many will compensate for reduced travel budgets by staying closer to home and cutting entertainment dollars,” Roeber said.
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