Memorial Day travel is expected to rise; 3rd highest since 2000 – Cranberry Eagle


Dan Mohler, of Mars, fills up on Route 228 at the Sheetz gas station in Adams Township on Thursday, May 25. Shane Potter / Butler Eagle

On the road again

Good forecast for the holiday weekend

The unofficial start of summer is here and many Americans want to get out of the house to enjoy some time in the sun away from the stress and hustle and bustle of work life.

Memorial Day holiday travel is expected to increase by 7% compared to last year, as 42.3 million travelers will hit the road this coming weekend, according to AAA.

“This is the third highest on record,” AA spokesman Jim Garrity said. “The pre-epidemic is generally timid. At airports, it is higher than before the pandemic.

42.3 million travelers in the year It is the third-highest number of trips for the Memorial Day holiday since 2000, with 44 million in 2005 and 42.8 in 2019.

This equates to 2.7 million more travelers arriving on holiday in 2022 than in 2022.

Car travel will increase 6 percent to 37.1 million, with 3.39 million passengers expected to take to the skies over the holiday.

“It’s a continuation of our enthusiasm for travel,” Garrity said. “We saw a lot of people travel last year for Memorial Day. People seem ready to go back there.”

Trips by other modes of transport such as bus or train are expected to increase by more than 20 percent to 1.85 million compared to last year.

The 2023 Memorial Day holiday is defined by AAA as Thursday, May 25, through Monday, May 29.

This increase in travel has been consistent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 23.1 million travelers during the 2020 Memorial Day weekend, 36.2 million in 2021, and 39.6 million in 2022.

“I think people are more interested in big trips these days,” Garrity said. “More bucket list trips. People used to say to themselves one day before the plague, but what do they say about today?

New data from the Energy Information Administration shows that gas demand fell from 9.3 million barrels of oil per day to 8.9 million barrels per day in the first week of May, but Garrity doesn’t think the trend will last long.

“You see a really big increase right now,” Garrity said. “It’s the official start of summer travel. Teenagers are out of school and driving. There’s something about putting your hand out the window as you drive down the street.”

Price at the pump

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline reached $3.57 as of May 25, according to AAA.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Pennsylvania is $3.67, while the average in Butler County is $3.71.

At this time last year, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.77.

Butler resident Eric Lenick said he will be going to his kids’ baseball games even though he won’t be on vacation this coming holiday weekend.

He explains his game plan when it comes to saving money at the pump when he can.

“If I’m near a Sam’s Club, I’ll go there,” Lenick said. “I’m a member there so I go there to get discount gas. I’m not changing my travel plans because of gas prices, but I’m going to Sam’s Club more often than I used to.”

Charlotte Barton of Valencia is headed to Uniontown, Pa., this weekend. She said she will travel.

She says she doesn’t do much outside of the occasional trip to the grocery store, but when it comes to leisure travel, the price of the pump doesn’t stop her from going.

“If I really want to go, I will,” Barton said.

Sunny skies

Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said Butler County residents and those traveling to the county are not worried weather-wise heading into the holiday weekend.

“The weather looks really nice,” Hendricks said. “Friday we’re looking at sunny lows in the 70s. It could be a little cool Friday night with lows in the mid 40s. Then sunny highs in the upper 70s for Saturday.”

Sunday will be partly cloudy with highs in the mid 70s and highs in the low 80s for Memorial Day.

A combination of cooler air and clear skies will allow for unusually cold temperatures heading into Friday morning and Friday night, but that’s not something people should worry too much about, Hendricks said.

“I don’t think we’re going to have any problems this weekend other than Jefferson County and Forrest County on Friday morning,” Hendricks said. “Then things should warm up enough by the end of the week.”

Signs advertise gas prices at the Sheetz gas station on Route 228 in Adams Township on Thursday, May 25. According to AAA, the average price in Butler County is $3.71 per gallon. Shane Potter / Butler Eagle

Nick DiGeronimo, of Shaler, fills up on Route 228 at the Sheetz gas station in Adams Township on Thursday, May 25. Shane Potter / Butler Eagle


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