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Unofficial start to summer expected to bring pre-pandemic travel levels despite gas prices

The holiday honors service by American veterans and serves as the unofficial start to summer. The interactive graphic below provides some facts about the holiday.

Representatives of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force lay wreaths during the Memorial Day ceremonies Monday, May 29, 2017, at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo.
Representatives of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force lay wreaths during the Memorial Day ceremonies Monday, May 29, 2017, at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo.
Dave Wallis / The Forum
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Traveling for the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be the busiest in three years and motorists appear willing to absorb record gas prices to reach their destinations.

The holiday on Monday honors service by American veterans and the weekend serves as the unofficial start to summer. The interactive graphic below provides some facts about the holiday.

Travel volume could rebound to pre-pandemic levels and mark the second-highest increase in travelers since 2010, according to the American Automobile Association. The organization predicts more than 39.2 million Americans — 89% of them by automobile — will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday weekend (Thursday through Monday).

A report by AAA says that Memorial Day gas prices are likely to be the highest on record and average prices have already broken records this year in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

Those states lag behind national prices, where drivers in 10 states are paying more than $5 per gallon.

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“Inflation, including high gas prices, are providing headwinds, but that hasn’t slowed the desire for travel so far this year,” said Gene LaDoucer, regional director of public affairs for AAA. “Many may look at cost-cutting measures to offset expenses, such as driving shorter distances, staying in a less expensive hotel, camping, or cutting back on shopping, dining and entertainment.”

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