Bloomberg News

Americans to Drive More Over Memorial Day Holiday, AAA Forecasts

May 15, 2012

The number of Americans driving during the Memorial Day holiday weekend will rise 1.2 percent from a year earlier, according to a forecast by the American Automobile Association.

Approximately 30.7 million Americans plan to drive to their destinations, up from 30.3 million who drove last year, according to AAA, the biggest U.S. motoring organization. The number of air travelers will fall 5.5 percent to 2.5 million from 2.7 million in 2011.

Overall, about 34.8 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the four-day weekend culminating in the May 28 holiday, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said. That’s a 1.2 percent increase from 34.3 million a year ago.

Memorial Day marks the traditional beginning of the summer travel season and the peak period for gasoline use. This year, the holiday falls a day earlier than in 2011. Weekend holiday travel tends to be more robust when the holiday falls later in the month, AAA has said.

The average distance traveled will be 642 miles, down from 792 in 2011. Median spending will rise to $702 from $692 last year, AAA said.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, was unchanged at $3.727 a gallon yesterday. Prices are down 20.9 cents since reaching a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4. Prices peaked in 2011 at $3.985 on May 4.

The projections by AAA are based on research and forecasts from IHS Global Insight.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Dallas at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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