Memorial Day travel forecast calls for high traffic, increasing temperatures

As students across western Pennsylvania begin summer vacation and families welcome the warm weather and a long holiday weekend, it is important to plan ahead for any unwanted travel complications.

AAA East Central estimates that over 4.6 million travelers from the Mid-Atlantic region will be headed to vacation destinations during Memorial Day weekend, filling roadways and airports with hundreds of vacation-bound families. As gas prices and temperatures continue to rise throughout the weekend, experts are advising these travelers to plan ahead in order to avoid unnecessary stress over the weekend.

State officials say travelers should expect heavy traffic on all major routes this Memorial Day weekend.  A traffic jam on Route 65 is pictured here.

“Based on our projections, more Americans will be taking to the roads and skies this Memorial Day weekend than in the last several years,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president of AAA East Central. “People are looking forward to that special trip spending. time with family and friends. ”

Car travel rising for season, but gas prices to remain high for weekend

Initial travel forecasts show that the most popular method of transportation will remain automobiles, with 4.2 million motorists expected to be traveling this weekend. The number of travelers driving cars to their destination is expected to increase by around 4.6% this year, despite the rising prices of gasoline across the nation.

“Even with a significant increase in gas prices, we expect a large jump in holiday driving compared to the last few years,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for INRIX. Drivers should expect congestion on major roadways around big cities and popular destinations. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. ”

While this map from AAA shows prices are lower than eastern parts of the state, many in western PA are feeling the impact of high prices on their wallets.  Currently, the state average is around $ 4.77 per gallon of gasoline.

In western Pennsylvania, gas prices are currently at an average of $ 4.70 per gallon, which is slightly above the current national average of $ 4.59. Prices for gasoline are $ 1.05 more than they were when Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, which has drastically raised the prices for gasoline across the globe. With the additional seasonal demand, the average price increase has been $ 1.56 from the same time period in 2021.

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