As Memorial Day weekend swings into full gear, travel is expected to hit pre-pandemic levels.
AAA (American Automobile Association) forecasts that more than 37 million Americans will drive to their destinations this weekend, a 6% increase over last year.
And while gas prices have ticked up a bit over the last few days, drivers will still see much lower prices at the pump than last year. According to AAA, the average price per gallon May 25 was $3.57 nationally and $3.49 here in the Garden State.
The New Jersey figure has jumped nearly 9 cents over the past week, but remains a shade below the $3.52 price per gallon last month and is significantly less than the $4.77 per gallon price drivers were paying last year at this time.
“The rise in demand for gasoline is helping to push pump prices higher for now,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, in a press release. “But the increase is mitigated by the low cost of oil, which is wobbling around in the low $70s per barrel. Pump prices could stabilize or fall once this long weekend is in the rearview mirror.”
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, projected this slight uptick heading into the holiday weekend but believed that levels would remain well below last year’s summer driving season.
“I continue to be optimistic that the national average will remain under $4 per gallon for most of, if not the entire summer, with Americans spending a combined $1.6 billion on less on gasoline over Memorial Day Weekend this year compared to last,” said De Haan in a press release earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey expects nearly 5.5 million travelers across its facilities this weekend.
Breaking down that number, the bistate agency anticipates nearly 2.1 million passengers will travel through its four airports from Friday through Tuesday – and encourages travelers to allow for additional travel time – and that as many as 3.4 million vehicles will cross its bridges and tunnels, which would be similar to pre-pandemic 2019 volumes.
To accommodate the surge on the roadways, the agency is suspending all ongoing repairs and construction projects at its crossings from 5 a.m. May 26 until 5 a.m. May 30.
Although a trip to the Jersey Shore will be a little bit more expensive this year, it won’t come close to last summer’s sticker shock. Click here to read more.