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Labor Day Auto Travel To Rise 4.3%

AAA Travel anticipates that 34.10 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Labor Day holiday — a 4.2-percent increase above the 32.70 million who traveled last year. Notably, the expected number of 2013 Labor Day holiday travelers would mark a new post-recession high. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept. 2.

The increase in holiday travel is attributable to increased consumer spending and an improving housing market. “For many Americans, their home is also their biggest asset,” said AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet. “As home prices improve in many parts of the country, more families are feeling comfortable about traveling this Labor Day holiday.”

Automobile travel will remain the dominant mode of transportation, with roughly 29.2 million people (85 percent) planning to drive to their destination — an increase of 4.3 percent, according to AAA.

AAA says gas prices are unlikely to be a major factor for people in determining whether they will travel this Labor Day. As of mid-August, prices were on average down 2.7 percent per gallon compared to the same time last year. The average price for gas on Labor Day 2012 was $3.83 per gallon — the most expensive average ever on record for the holiday. The national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.54 on Aug. 20 (the date AAA’s survey results were published). That’s $0.18 lower than a year ago.

AAA expects gas prices to remain less expensive than last year based on current trends.

The largest share of travelers (46 percent) on a single day will depart Friday, Aug. 30, and the largest share will return on Monday, Sept. 2 (43 percent).

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