Despite record-high gas prices, Tri-State residents hit the road this Memorial Day weekend

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Friday, May 27, 2022
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Marcus Solis has more on Memorial Day Weekend travel.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Record high gas prices are not keeping people from traveling this Memorial Day weekend, with more than 35 million Americans planning to hit the road.

That's up 5% from last summer, now rising above pre-pandemic levels.

"Despite these record-high gasoline prices, we are expecting, based on what we're seeing for Memorial Day, that it's going to be a very robust travel period for summer," AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said. "People just want to get out and go."

But you can expect to pay more for gas.

This time last year, gas prices averaged around $3 a gallon. Now, the nationwide average is up to $4.60.

Locally, it's up to $4.93 in New York, $4.75 in New Jersey, and $4.68 in Connecticut.

"We just toughed it out, and you know, whatever the gas price is, we unfortunately just have to pay for it," traveler Dan Johnson said. "We want to go visit our family, so this is the cost that's involved."

If you want to save some money, the firs tip is to slow down.

Experts say aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 30%.

Also, re-consider those rooftop cargo carriers, which can reduce mileage by 25%.

AAA estimates that 39.2 million people in the U.S. will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend.

Those projections -- which include travel by car, plane and other modes of transportation like trains or cruise ships - are up 8.3% from 2021 and would bring Memorial Day travel volumes close to 2017 levels.

The estimates are still below pre-pandemic 2019 levels, a peak year for travel.

About 88% of those 39.2 million travelers - a record number - are expected to go by car over the long weekend even as gas prices remain high, Gross said.

But with airline tickets prices up, too - AAA found that the average lowest airfare for this weekend is 6% higher than last year - that's not a sure bet, either.

Higher demand combined with inflation means higher prices for everything.

Airfare is up 6%, car rentals are up 16%, and hotels are up 42%.

The TSA expects to screen some 2.1 million passengers a day at airports across the country, at or even a little more than pre-pandemic levels.

There's also the extra challenge this holiday weekend of airlines cutting more flights due to a shortage of pilots.

ALSO READ: NOAA predicts above average hurricane season, releases storm names

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