AAA Chicago Expects Strong Labor Day Weekend Travel, Despite Record Gas Prices

AURORA, Ill., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ — AAA estimates that 34.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Labor Day weekend. That’s a 0.9 percent increase from 2004. The price of fuel, at a national average of $2.60 per gallon for regular unleaded, has not deterred motorists from taking a vacation. About 83 percent of travelers, or 28.8 million people, will travel by motor vehicle this Labor Day weekend.

“Labor Day is the end of the summer travel season and Americans still plan to take one last getaway regardless of the price of fuel,” says Kris Lathan, AAA Chicago public affairs director.

Although prices may vary by the weekend, currently in Illinois, the price of regular unleaded is $2.70 per gallon, which is 79 cents higher than this time last year. In Indiana, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline costs $2.61 per gallon compared to $1.85 per gallon during last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend.

The Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, will see approximately 4.5 million auto travelers and roughly 500,000 air travelers. Across the country, 4 million Americans will travel by plane, representing a 3.9 percent increase over last year. About 5 percent, or 1.7 million, of all holiday vacationers will travel by train, bus or other mode of transportation.

Towns and rural areas top the list of preferred destinations with 23 percent of national travelers. Areas near water came next with ocean/beach at 21 percent and big cities are the destination for 18 percent of travelers. Labor Day travel research is based on a national telephone survey of 1,300 adults by the Travel Industry Association of American, which conducts special research for AAA.

For more than 100 years, AAA has represented the interests of the nation’s motorists and served as an advocate for various traffic safety and travel related issues. AAA Chicago, which celebrates its Centennial anniversary next year, has served in that role in Illinois and Northern Indiana since its founding in 1906.

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