Despite economy, Utahns expect to increase holiday travel
Stubbornly high fuel costs are not expected to keep Utah and other Mountain West residents off the highways during the coming Labor Day weekend.
AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough said Monday that more than 2.5 million residents of the organization's Mountain West region Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona are expected to travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the three-day holiday period.
That represents an increase of six-tenths of a percentage point over Labor Day weekend of 2013.
"Mountain West residents are more optimistic about their financial situation, and consumer spending continues to outpace disposable income," Fairclough stated. "This indicates that Utahns are willing to take on debt to finance their end of the summer getaway."
The holiday weekend travel predictions break down this way:
• More than 2.1 million Mountain West residents will drive to reach their destinations, up five-tenths of a percentage point from last year.
• More than 226,000 plan to travel by air, an increase of 2.4 percent.
• More than 200,000 will travel by other modes of transportation, such as rail, bus and watercraft, about the same as for Labor Day weekend 2013.
Nationally, AAA projects slightly more than 34.7 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the Labor Day weekend, representing a 1.3 percent increase compared to 2013.
Utah's gasoline prices have fallen an average of 1.9 cents per gallon in the past week, but still remained high entering this week: $3.61 per gallon of regular grade gasoline, according to the GasBuddy.com survey.
Utah's pump prices remain higher than the national average of $3.43 per gallon, which was down 1.3 cents from the country's fueling costs a week ago.