August 26, 2009 17:35 ET

AAA Texas: Late Labor Day to Reduce Number of Vacationers, But Will Be Third Busiest Labor Day Weekend This Decade

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - August 26, 2009) - Nationally and in Texas, AAA is projecting approximately 39.1 million travelers are expected to take a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Labor Day weekend. In Texas, 2.8 million people are projected to travel, that's about 10 percent of the state's population.

The 39.1 million people that will travel are a decrease of 13.3 percent from Labor Day 2008, when travel was the highest this decade. The drop in the West South Central States including Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana is expected to be about 11 percent compared to last year. AAA's forecasting partner, IHS Global Insight, believes much of the drop can be attributed to the calendar. Labor Day this year is Sept. 7, when the school year is already two weeks in session. Labor Day last year was Sept. 1.

In 2008, 45.1 million Americans traveled during the Labor Day weekend; the most this decade. Despite this year's projected decline of 6 million travelers, AAA says it expects more Americans to travel this holiday than were projected to travel over this year's 4th of July holiday weekend. This will also be the third strongest weekend for Labor Day travel this decade. The second busiest year was 2003 when 41.6 million Americans took a Labor Day weekend trip.

Last Labor Day, the average price of regular gasoline was $3.68 per gallon after peaking at a record $4.11 on July 17. This year, AAA expects the nationwide average price of regular gasoline to be approximately $2.60 per gallon.

Four percent of vacationers are expected to travel by airline, automobile travel will increase to 84 percent. Automobile vacations will be taken by 32.9 million travelers and air trips by only 1.5 million travelers. This will be the lowest number of trips by air this decade for the Labor Day holiday weekend. Nearly 2.43 million Texans will choose to drive and approximately 139,000 will choose to fly.

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