With gasoline prices a little lower than a year ago, the auto club AAA is projecting 34.8 million Americans will take trips at least 50 miles from home over the Memorial Day weekend, an uptick of 1.2 percent — or 500,000 travelers — over last year's 34.3 million.
But steadily increasing gas prices in early spring "significantly squeezed many household budgets," said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Jenny Robinson. People will still travel, but will stay closer to home, and spend less while there.
AAA estimates that more will drive — 30.7 million, a slight increase from 30.3 million who traveled by car a year ago.
Nearly nine out of 10 holiday travelers, or 88 percent, will drive. And fewer Americans will fly — 2.5 million air travelers, compared with 2.7 million one year ago.
On Tuesday, gasoline prices averaged $3.79 a gallon in the five-county Philadelphia area and $3.62 in Gloucester, Camden, and Burlington Counties in New Jersey. A year ago, the Memorial Day weekend gas price averaged $3.89 a gallon in the Philadelphia area and $3.73 in South Jersey.