With about 85 percent of Ohioans who are traveling this Labor Day weekend doing so by automobile, the price of gas will play a key role in whether the trip is a smooth ride, according to a projection by AAA.
Improved economic conditions are attributed for the more than 1.2 million Ohioans who plan to travel by automobile this weekend, an increase of 3.3 percent compared to last year, according to AAA.
Overall, AAA projects nearly 1.4 million people from Ohio will journey at least 50 miles from home for Labor Day weekend by one means or another, a 3.3 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012, according to Cindy Antrican, AAA’s Public Affairs manager.
Gas prices are expected to rise over the next two days. Most gas stations around the area started raising their pump prices to $3.60 a gallon on Wednesday, according to Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy.com, a gasoline watchdog.
The gas price increase has less to do with the holiday and more to do with the unrest in Syria, according to DeHaan, who said, “Oil prices have taken a big jump.”
One year ago today, gas prices in the Dayton-area were around $3.92, according to Gasbuddy.com.
DeHaan said despite the hike in prices on Wednesday, it is possible that prices could drop slightly before Labor Day. However, if the situation in Syria suddenly worsens, it’s possible that we could see prices go up to $3.69 today and then back down a few pennies this weekend. DeHaan predicts that on Monday, most gas stations will be around $3.60.
Regardless of the prices at the pump, travelers will still take road trips, according to Antrican.
“What happens is they economize in other areas,” Antrican said, referring to cutting back on vacation luxuries.
Besides paying attention to gas prices, motorists need to pay attention to where they get their gas.
“The bigger truck stops tend to have more competitive pricing,” DeHaan said. “So if folks are hitting the road, keep in mind the areas where there are more stations. If there are two truck stops at one exit, it’s highly likely that they are both pretty well priced.”
DeHaan added that motorists going across state lines should check gasoline price watchdog sites in their destination state before the trip. But, he said we should keep in mind that “Ohio has one of the lower gasoline taxes in the region.”
• AAA projects that 34.1 million Americans will travel for Labor Day, which is a 4.2 percent increase from last year.
• Nationally, auto travel is expected to climb 4.3 percent, while air travel is expected to increase 2.8 percent.
• Regional holiday air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent to nearly 51,000.
• The largest share of travelers will depart on Friday. That’s 46 percent. Forty-three percent plan to return on Monday, Labor Day.
• Nationwide, the average traveler is expected to log a round-trip distance of 594 miles, compared to 626 miles last year.
• Median spending among travelers is projected to be $804 compared to $749 last year.
*AAA’s projections based on travel forecast data provided by research conducted by IHS Global Insight.
By Kelli Wynn - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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