AAA says people will be undeterred by high gas prices over the Memorial Day weekend

AAA said people would be undeterred by high gas prices this Memorial Day weekend.
AAA said people would be undeterred by high gas prices this Memorial Day weekend.(File)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 10:27 AM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 11:42 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - AAA is projecting that almost 1.8 million New Englanders will travel a distance of 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day Weekend, mostly on the roads.

However, the auto club said air travel and travel by other modes of transportation should both be up significantly compared to last year.

More than 90 percent of travelers, or more than 1.6 million New Englanders, will be hitting the road for the holiday, AAA said. That’s up almost 5 percent compared to last year despite record gas prices.

In Connecticut, the average price for a gallon of regular gas on Monday was $4.68, according to AAA. The national average was $4.59.

AAA recommended traveling during off-peak times to avoid congestion.

DayWorst TimeBest Time
Thursday1:00-8:00 p.m.Before 6:00 a.m. or After 9:00 p.m.
Friday12:00-7:00 p.m.Before 7:00 a.m. or After 9:00 p.m.
Saturday1:00-6:00 p.m.Before 10:00 a.m.
Sunday1:00-4:00 p.m.Before 10:00 a.m.
Monday1:00-4:00 p.m.Before 11:00 a.m.

AAA battery mobile technician Alex Cartagena said he’s ready for a chaotic few days.

“It gets pretty crazy out here for AAA,” Cartagena said. “That’s why for us we always prepare ahead of time knowing these occasions will arise with members driving for the holidays with their families.”

Cartagena recommended that drivers make sure their tires and batteries are ready before they hit the road.

While the increase in driving is notable given the historically high gas prices, a sharp jump in air travel and travel by other modes of transportation suggests gas prices may be motivating some travelers to consider alternatives to hitting the road.

“The roads will be as crowded as they have been over the Memorial Day holiday since before the [COVID-19] pandemic but airports, train stations and bus depots will also be extremely busy so travelers should plan accordingly,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford.

Noble said air travel looks to be up more than 25 percent over Memorial Day weekend last year, with AAA projecting that more than 140,000 New Englanders will take to the skies.

Travel by other modes of transportation, which was slowest to recover from the pandemic, is up almost 190 percent over last year, with 17,000 New Englanders training, busing or cruising to their holiday destinations.

Here’s a breakdown of AAA’s projections:

TotalAutomobileAirOther (Bus, Train, Cruise)
2022 (Forecast)1.79 M1.63 M141,00017,000
2021 (Actual)1.67 M1.56 M112,0006,000
2019 (Actual)1.93 M1.75 M152,00028,000
Change (2019 to 2022)-7.0 %-6.8%-7.2%-39.3%
Change (2021 to 2022)6.7%4.7%25.4%189.3%

The increase in the number of New Englanders traveling over the Memorial Day holiday mirrors national projections, AAA said.

From May 26 through May 30, more than 39 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, an increase of more than eight percent over last year.