SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — This Memorial Day weekend is expected to be one of the busiest for travelers since 2000, with more than 42 million Americans heading somewhere for the holiday, according to AAA.
But even though the price of gasoline is cheaper than this time last year, Utahns are finding themselves paying 50 cents more per gallon than the national average.
The average price for a regular gallon of gas in Utah was $4.07 as of Friday compared to $3.57 nationally, AAA reported.
Even though gas prices have surged recently, more than 37 million Americans are expected to drive to their holiday destinations.
“The rise in demand for gasoline is helping to push pump prices higher for now,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, in a news release this week. “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.”
Of the entire weekend, Friday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads, AAA said. This year’s projected travel is seven percent higher than 2022.
“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a news release. “More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier, despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at airports.”
Air traffic is expected to be up 11 percent over last year, according to AAA, with more than three million travelers flying to their destinations.
Nancy Volmer, Salt Lake International Airport spokesperson, told KUTV 2News Thursday and Friday have been the busiest days, although they are not record-breaking.
“We’re prepared,” Volmer said, “and everybody’s staffed up.”