Encouraged by cheap gas, the most Carolinas drivers on record are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend.
AAA Carolinas estimates that 1,051,000 North Carolina and 485,400 South Carolina motorists will travel by car between Thursday and Monday. That’s nearly 32,000 more than the total from the two states last year, AAA said in a statement this week.
Gas prices tend to rise during the warmer months and are nearing their highest point for 2016. But they are still on track to be the cheapest for this time of year since 2005, AAA said in a separate report this week.
As of early Wednesday, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas in the Charlotte area was $2.18, up 5 cents from last week, according to AAA. North Carolina’s average price is $2.22, up 4 cents from last week, and South Carolina’s average price is $2.08, up 5 cents.
An estimated 38 million Americans, 700,000 more than last year, are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend, the second-highest travel volume since 2005, AAA says.
For those traveling by car, the top driving destinations for Memorial Day are Charleston; Myrtle Beach; Denver, Colo.; Orlando, Fla.; and Savannah, Ga.
AAA also expects air travel to increase 1.6 percent over last year – 84,124 North Carolinians and 33,629 South Carolinians will fly to their destinations this Memorial Day weekend. Average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes will be 26 percent cheaper this weekend compared with Memorial Day weekend 2015, AAA says, and the average round-trip ticket will cost $165.
Travel by other modes of transportation – cruises, trains and buses – is expected to fall 2.3 percent, AAA says.