AAA expects slight increase in highway travel for Memorial Day

With state gas prices lower than this time last year, AAA is predicting a slight increase in highway travel nationwide for Memorial Day weekend.

Shawn Kaup, AAA director of marketing and public relations for the Central Penn region, expects the state to fall in line with national projections and expects a slight increase in the number of cars on the road this weekend.

“Memorial Day is certainly the unofficial start of summer, and it’s typically a nice weekend getaway type of day trip holiday,” he said.

AAA is also projecting a noticeable 8 percent decline in air travel due to economic factors, which could bring the total travel numbers slightly lower than last year. Kaup expects to see lower air travel numbers out of the state’s bigger airports in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

Gas prices should also factor into the travel plans.

Pennsylvania is sitting at an average of $3.50 per gallon, according to gasbuddy.com and senior petroleum analyst Gregg Laskoski said consumers could actually see prices dip a bit this weekend and in the next month.

Laskoski said the supply numbers look strong, especially in the eastern part of the nation, and he said people could see prices dropping as much as 25 cents per gallon in the next 30 days.

“Right now the overall supply and demand fundamentals look pretty favorable for consumers,” he said.

Many Centre County gas stations fall slightly under the Pennsylvania average, which is an additional 18 cents lower than the national figure of $3.68 per gallon.

Outside factors such as problems in the Middle East or hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico could negatively affect oil prices, but Laskoski isn’t predicting anything major in the coming months.

“Overall, the nation’s fuel supply is looking a little better than it did last year,” he said.

Laskoski also strongly advises everyone to check their tire pressures, because every pound of pressure that a tire is underfilled will bring down a vehicle’s fuel economy. Those costs can add up quickly.