Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

August 29, 2013

More holiday driving expected

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — More than 4.7 million people from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania expect to travel 50 miles or more over Labor Day weekend, an Automobile Association of America survey indicates.

That total is up about 4.2 percent, mirroring national survey results that indicate a lift as 34.1 million Americans anticipate making a Labor Day trip.

“Eighty-four percent will be traveling by car, while just over 8 percent will be flying to their destinations,” according to Jim Lehman, President, AAA East Central. “Labor Day presents a last-minute opportunity to enjoy some time with friends and family before the settling into the day-to-day school and work responsibilities that come with the changing season.”

Auto travel is anticipated to be up 4.3 percent from last year in the region, with 4 million drivers making a road trip to their destination. Approximately 400,000 plan to fly, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2012.

AAA predicts the busiest travel days this holiday weekend will be Friday and Monday. AAA’s Labor Day travel projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight.

Part of the reason for the increased road travel is the relatively steady price of gasoline of late, which is lower than this time last year.

Locally, AAA said a gallon of unleaded gas is averaging $3.76 in the greater Lockport area, the same as last week. 

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.54 per gallon.

In advance of the Labor Day holiday weekend, drivers across the country continue to enjoy lower pump prices from a year ago. While the national average has remained flat over the last week, this obscures what have been more volatile prices in some states.

Pump prices in three states – Oregon, Nevada and Washington – have dropped by nearly a nickel per gallon since last week. But prices in three Midwest states have jumped by more than four cents, including Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

Even as regional prices continue to shift, the most expensive gas prices in the nation remain in Hawaii ($4.33) and Alaska ($4.04), as is historically the case, AAA said. The highest prices in the continental U.S. are in the northeast and on the West Coast, but no state is averaging more than $4 per gallon. On the day after Labor Day last year motorists in eight states were paying an average of more than $4 per gallon, including seven in the continental U.S., including New York.

While retail gas prices remain well below year-ago levels, tensions, unrest and violence in the Middle East and North Africa have kept global oil prices higher than recent summers. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have now settled above $100 per barrel each day since the beginning of July due in large part to these continued reports of violence in Egypt, Libya and Syria.

At the close of Monday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled 50 cents lower, but still well above the $100 per barrel threshold, at $105.92.