ABC2News: There is welcome news for motorists as gas prices retreat before the official start of the summer driving season.
Gas prices continued to retreat, pulling back from the projected $4.00 season high this week, just in time for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The national average price for regular grade gasoline was $3.89 a gallon on Friday, down 9 cents from last week, yet still 5 cents higher than a month ago and $1.05 higher than one year ago prices. Prices at the pump remain 22 cents below the all-time record of $4.11 set in summer of 2008.
Crude prices remained volatile this week, responding to the weak economy data and the European debt crisis, fueling concerns about demand.
AAA Mid-Atlantic projects that 34.9 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a slight increase of 0.2 percent, or 100,000 travelers, from the 34.8 million people who traveled last year. Approximately 30.9 million people plan to drive to their destination,a small decline from the 31 million who drove last year.
In spite of gas prices, drivers continue to dominate the mode of transportation. Almost 9 out of 10 holiday travelers will take to the nation's roadways during the holiday weekend. “Motorists continue to enjoy victory, albeit slow in coming, at the pump as gas prices continue to retreat just in time for the long-anticipated Memorial Day holiday weekend,” said Ragina C. Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
“Have we seen the gas price peak for summer 2011? Analysts say we have, which is welcome news for motorists. Yet of the projected 34.9 million Americans set to travel next weekend, 70 percent say they will compensate for higher fuel costs by cutting other areas of their travel budgets in order to usher in the unofficial start of summer with a holiday weekend get away.”