Labor Day weekend travelers will be taking the summer’s last fling on the most expensive fuel in years, and travel experts say some may just decide to stay home.
The American Automobile Assn. expects a 2% decline in air, train, bus and car travel from last year--partly because of rising gasoline prices after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and partly because of an economic downturn that predates the Middle East crisis.
The AAA, based in Heathrow, Fla., says an estimated 25.5 million Americans are expected to travel 100 million miles by all modes of transportation during the three-day weekend.
Its survey of gas prices showed a plentiful supply, with unleaded regular averaging $1.30 a gallon. It also indicated that motorists are paying $2 to $4 more to fill up an average car’s tank.
That should not be enough to affect long-planned trips, said AAA spokesman Jerry Cheske, but he said some people who travel on impulse may have second thoughts.
Air travel is not expected to be significantly affected by the increase in jet fuel prices, because most travelers purchased tickets before the Kuwait invasion, said Philip Davidoff, president-elect of the American Society of Travel Agents.
Airlines have announced some fare increases, but many rolled them back to keep planes filled.