Iowa’s highways and interstates will be exceptionally busy next weekend, the first big travel holiday of the year. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for AAA-Iowa, says it’s forecast to be the busiest Memorial Day weekend for travel in a full decade.
“We expect a nearly 5% increase in travel for this Memorial Day over last year,” Weinholzer says. “In fact, it will be an all-time high for the past 10 years. We expect 37.2-million Americans to travel at least 50 miles or more between Thursday the 21st and Monday, the 25th.”
The biggest factor in the travel forecast is the price of gasoline which has fallen a long ways from Memorial Day of 2014.
“We’re seeing fuel prices about a dollar below where they were last year at this time,” Weinholzer says. “That certainly provides people with an added incentive to travel. Of the 37.2-million Americans that are traveling, 33-million will be traveling by personal automobile and obviously, they’ll be taking advantage of the lower fuel costs.”
The national average for a gallon of unleaded self-service gas is $2.65, which is several pennies above what Iowans are paying at the pump. “Iowa’s average today is $2.59 as compared to a year ago today when it was $3.52,” Weinholzer says. “So, obviously, that’s a significant savings.”
Holiday air travel is expected to rise as well, due to lower fuel costs. The average airfares for the top 40 domestic flight routes are two-percent cheaper this year, falling to $222.