Labor Day travelers are celebrating after an AAA analysis revealed that gas prices in the U.S. are the cheapest they’ve been ahead of the holiday weekend in three years.
According to AAA, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi beat out the rest of the country for the cheapest gas prices.
On the West Coast, California, Washington and Oregon, along with Hawaii and Nevada, tip the scale with the highest prices.
But the good news is that the current national average, $2.59 per gallon, is lower than the national average for the same week last year by nearly 25 cents.
Today’s average also beats the 2017 cost per gallon: $2.63.
National Gas Price Average for Labor Day on Track to Be Cheapest in Three Years https://t.co/PlSGKTusdG
— AAA (@AAAnews) August 26, 2019
“For Americans who bookend summer with road trips, they will find gas prices this coming weekend that are cheaper than this past Memorial Day and last year’s Labor Day holiday,” Jeanette Casselano, a representative for AAA, said in a news release.
“At the start of the week, two-thirds of all states have gas prices averages that are nearly a quarter cheaper than last year,” she said.
The cheaper prices might lead to heavier travel, AAA warns, with families taking advantage of the lower numbers to go on end-of-summer road trips in time for the holiday weekend.
USA Today shared a report from INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, that estimated driving times could take 10% longer than usual, even rising as high as 85% to 115% longer in heavily populated areas.
The study warned that travelers leaving on Thursday between 4 and 6 p.m. will likely experience the worst traffic.
“Most people were leaving Friday and returning Monday, which certainly is no surprise,” Mary Maguire, a spokesperson for AAA Massachusetts, told Boston.com. “However, we did see that there were a significant number of people who were going to try to stagger their departure time or their return time.”
She added that avoiding the roads late Sunday evening and arriving home early Monday could help vacationers avoid high traffic zones.
Although the average cost of gas per gallon might see a slight rise over the weekend, AAA analysts estimate that most such jumps will be short-term.
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