More travel expected Labor Day weekend
by Sarah Fay Campbell
In another sign that the economy is picking up, a post-recession high of 34.1 million people are expected to travel this Labor Day.
AAA predicts 34.1 million Americans will journey at least 50 miles from home for the three-day-weekend, a 4.2 percent increase from last year. That's the highest number since Labor Day 2008, when 45 million Americans traveled for the holiday.
"Although this summer's holiday travel numbers were pretty lackluster compared to last year, Labor Day travel is forecast to end the summer with a bang," said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA Travel, the Auto Club Group.
The anticipated increase is predominantly due to increased consumer spending and the improving housing market, said Brady. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept. 2.
In Georgia, the prediction is for 918,875 travelers, with 805,406 traveling by automobile.
Nationally, eighty-five percent of travelers will be going by automobile, and Friday will be the busiest travel day. Forty-six percent of travelers will leave on Friday and 43 percent will return on Monday.
When it comes to fueling up, gasoline is cheaper than it was a year ago, said Brady. On Labor Day 2012, the national average for regular unleaded was $3.83, the most expensive average on record for the holiday.
The current national average for regular unleaded was $3.534 on Thursday. A year ago, it was $3.716.
In Georgia, the state average was $3.443 on Thursday.
In Newnan on Thursday, the lowest price for regular unleaded was $3.45 on Hwy. 16 East. The lowest price along Bullsboro Drive was $3.49, according to GeorgiaGasPrices.com.