HAMILTON – Approximately 907,000 New Jersey residents will travel 50 miles or more for the Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2012, an increase of 0.5% from the 902,000 that traveled in 2011.
“The majority of New Jerseyans, 815,000, plan to travel by automobile, this figure is up 0.6% from the 810,000 that drove to their holiday destination last year,” according to Tracy E. Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The recent decline in gas prices is a welcome site for the 90 percent of Memorial Day travelers who will be venturing out by automobile this holiday weekend.”
“AAA is projecting that nine out of ten holiday travelers will take to the nation’s roadways during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and New Jersey is no exception,” Noble stated. “The roadways throughout the Garden State will be congested with both residents and non-residents alike, most likely heading to the shore areas.”
A survey of intended travelers found that 53 percent said recent increases in gasoline prices would not impact their Memorial Day holiday travel plans. Of the remaining 47 percent of travelers who said gas prices would impact their travel plans, nine percent are planning to take a shorter trip, four percent will travel by an alternate mode of transportation and 34 percent will economize in other areas. Those who intend to economize in other areas plan to reduce spending on entertainment (65 percent), stay at a lower priced hotel (34 percent), stay with friends and relatives instead of reserving a hotel room (31 percent) or stay in a hotel that includes value-added amenities like free breakfast and internet (27 percent).
National gasoline prices may have peaked in April despite seasonal highs in early spring when motorists experienced average price increases for all but four days in February and March. April experienced a full reversal as prices fell for 23 of 30 days during the month, helping to break a streak of 911 days since the national average price was lower than the previous year. The current New Jersey average price for regular gasoline is $3.60, compared to $3.82 this time last year.
According to a survey of traveler intentions, the average distance traveled by Americans during the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be 642 miles, which is 150 miles less than last year’s average travel distance of 792 miles. With high gas prices squeezing consumers’ spending power this spring, consumers are responding by traveling shorter distances this Memorial Day holiday.
Nationally, AAA projects the number of Americans traveling for the Memorial Day 2012 holiday weekend to increase 1.2 percent compared to 2011. Approximately 34.8 million travelers are projected to take a trip of 50 or more miles away from home. Last year, 34.3 million Americans traveled during the same period.