Lower gas prices help, but don’t influence, Labor Day travel plans

Millions of people are hitting the road, but don't credit lower gas prices
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 5:11 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Millions of Americans were setting off Friday to travel for the long holiday weekend.

An online survey AAA conducted across the United States in early August found about 32% of Americans will travel during the Labor Day weekend. The vast majority planned to travel by road.

AAA expects this Labor Day travel weekend to be the busiest in three years, and Friday would be the busiest traveling day as pandemic restrictions ease up and gas prices continue a steady decline. The volume of traffic we saw on Interstate 41 seemed to support that.

Drivers we spoke to in Green Bay told us the drop in gas prices lets their money take them farther, but it didn’t necessarily change their travel plans.

“I think I still would’ve done the trip even with gas prices being a little bit high. It helps that they’re lower. But the trip would’ve still happened even with these gas prices,” Katie Schmidt from Green Bay said.

“I’ve really had to lower my budget because this used to cost about $150 to fill up and now it’s just $80. I really like... whatever they’re doing I really like it,” Mason Drinkwine, also from Green Bay, said.

Gas prices have dropped over the past several weeks, helping those who plan to hit the road. Friday the average national price was $3.80 per gallon. That’s about a dollar less than the 4th of July but 68 cents more than drivers paid a year ago.

Article continues below the video

GasBuddy says demand for gasoline weakened over the last 11 weeks, leaving plenty of supply (and lower prices) for holiday travelers

Travel experts advise drivers leave at off-peak hours -- either late at night or early in the morning -- to avoid traffic. They’d also save money on gas because they’d be sitting in as much slowed traffic.

“The two best things you can do when you’re traveling is plan ahead and check 511WI.gov. It has all the closures for construction,” Mark Kantola, regional communications manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, said.

But the most important, life-saving thing you can do on the road is to avoid distracted driving.

“It’s just so dangerous. You come across those so quick. You know, someone with a tire, and a tow truck is trying to help them put a tire back on, and you’re looking at your phone, and you go basically the length of a football field if you look down at a text without seeing the road, so a lot of things can happen,” Kantola said.

Drivers tell us lower gas prices didn't affect their travel plans much