Local News

Surge in Gas Prices and Traveling for Memorial Day Weekend

Blakes-law

AAA: Memorial Day Forecast Points to Sizzlin’ Summer Travel

More than 39.2 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend

BURNSVILLE, MN (May 17, 2022) – Memorial Day weekend is expected to be the busiest in three years, building on a travel resurgence that began earlier this spring. This year’s forecast marks the second highest single-year increase in travelers since 2010 (2021 was the highest), bringing volumes almost in line with pre-pandemic levels.

“By the looks of this Memorial Day travel forecast, the summer travel season is off to a sizzlin’ start,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “People are more comfortable traveling now than any other time in the past two years, and travel bookings are a reflection of that. Reservations for flights, hotels and cruises for Memorial Day weekend are twice as strong as last year’s holiday and that momentum will likely carry into the summer.”

AAA predicts more than 39.2 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend. The 8.3% increase from 2021 puts travel volumes in line with 2017 figures. For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five days from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.

NATIONAL 2022 Memorial Day Holiday Travelers

Total

Automobile

Air

Other

(Bus, Train, Cruise)

2022 (Forecast)

39.2M

34.9M (89%)

3.01M (8%)

1.33M (3%)

2021 (Actual)

36.2M

33.4M (92%)

2.41M (7%)

440,000 (1%)

2019 (Actual)

42.8M

37.6M (88%)

3.22M (8%)

1.90M (4%)

Change (2021 to 2022)

8.3%

4.6%

25%

199.9%

Change (2019 to 2022)

-8.2%

-7.3%

-6.3%

-29.6%

All Travel Modes Rebound

A recent AAA survey found that Minnesotans are more comfortable traveling now than any time during the past two years.  That increased comfort is driving growth in all modes of transportation this year, especially air travel.

Air travel volumes are forecast to rise 25% from last year – the second-largest yearly increase in more than a decade. The 3 million Americans forecast to fly this Memorial Day weekend is just shy of 2019 levels.

“Surging demand and weather have challenged flight schedules since the beginning of the year,” Haas continued. “With the type of volume we anticipate going forward, we still recommend the safety net of a travel agent and travel insurance.  Both are lifesavers if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”

Record-High Gas Prices

Despite historically high gas prices, nearly 90% of Memorial Day travelers plan to travel by car, a 4.6% increase over last year.

Gas prices for Memorial Day are likely to be the highest on record. A combination of tightening global supplies and strong demand are the main culprits behind this unprecedented pain at the pump.

As of today, the average price for gasoline in Minnesota is $4.11 per gallon.  Previously, Minnesota Memorial Day travelers found pump price averages of $2.84 in 2021, $2.71 in 2019, and $2.86 in 2018. The highest average price recorded on Memorial Day in Minnesota was $4.04 per gallon in 2013.

“Inflation, including high gas prices, are providing headwinds, but that hasn’t slowed the desire for travel so far this year,” said Meredith Mitts, public affairs specialist for AAA Minnesota-Iowa; The Auto Club Group. “Many may look at cost-cutting measures to offset expenses, such as driving shorter distances, staying in a less expensive hotel, camping, or cutting back on shopping, dining and entertainment.”

Travel Prices

  • Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 6% more than last year coming in at $184/ticket. Saturday is the most expensive day to fly and Monday the least expensive.
  • Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 42%, with the average lowest nightly rates approximately $99-$257/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
  • Car Rentals—Daily car rental rates have decreased 16% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $100/day.

Busiest Times

Air Travel – Based on AAA booking data, Thursday is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the Memorial Day travel period (May 26 – May 30) with Monday being the lightest.

Road Trips – For those hitting the road, Thursday and Friday are anticipated to be peak traffic days.

AAA suggests reducing stress by:  

  • Arriving at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international.
  • Booking a flight during non-peak travel periods to cut down on wait times.
  • Hitting the road when there’s less traffic and allowing extra time when traveling to your destination.

Stranded Motorists

For the 34.9 million Americans hitting the road, it’s always advisable to get your vehicle road-trip ready with a full vehicle inspection. AAA expects to respond to over 388,000 calls for help over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Get key components checked like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels and make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is fully stocked.

 

Forecast Methodology:

In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit– a world leader in critical information, analytics and expertise — developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes. The economic variables used to forecast travel for the current holiday are leveraged from IHS Markit’s proprietary databases. These data include macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. AAA and IHS Markit have quantified holiday travel volumes going back to 2000.

The travel forecast is reported in person-trips. In particular, AAA and IHS Markit forecast the total U.S. holiday travel volume and expected mode of transportation. The travel forecast presented in this report was prepared the week of April 11, 2022.

Memorial Day Holiday Travel Period

For purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as the five days from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30. The five-day holiday length is consistent with previous holiday periods.

About AAA

Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 62 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit AAA.com.

About AAA – The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source