Labor Day 2015 Stats: Gas Prices Down, Travel Numbers Up

Labor Day weekend was a busy one on the roads. Gas prices are the lowest they have ever been in 11 years, according to AAA. That means a sharp increase in travel during the weekend.

A report on KOAA-5 News added that the low gas prices also made for heavy traffic, especially on Monday evening. Highway 24, west of interstate 25, in Colorado Springs was heavily backed up. One driver noted that the traffic was “bumper to bumper” all night long.

Gas prices on Labor Day are the lowest they ever been on Labor Day in nearly 11 years, according to AAA. The national average for gas is $2.40 per gallon. Colorado is averaging slightly above that at $2.71 per gallon. The average price of gas is $2.26 in Florida, $2.25 in Georgia, and $2.10 in Tennessee. Still, gas costs more than a dollar less than it did this time last year.

Driver Nikita Kibbe told KHOU in Houston, Texas, that she was excited over the low gas prices.

“$2.05 a gallon! And I got 17 gallons at $35!” she said.

Not only are gas prices the lowest they have been in years, roads are also the most congested they’ve been in seven years. That’s because more Americans were taking road trips throughout most of the Labor Day weekend, according to AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins.

“These low gas prices likely influenced many Americans to take a last minute road trip. Motorists are saving between $15-$25 every time they go pump, and those savings could get even bigger. Labor Day marks the end of the summer travel season, which means gas demand will decline as fewer people take road trips. As a result, gas prices in the autumn and winter seasons could be the cheapest of the year.”

The low price of gasoline has helped the travel numbers rise for Labor Day weekend. According to the AAA, 3.2 million Americans drove their cars, with others traveling by air (560,000) or by “other means” (240,000) such as a cruise ship, plane, or train.

The Labor Day weekend also marked as one of the busiest weekends for camping. The warmer weather across most of the U.S. was also one of the reasons why most people were seen camping at Van Buren State Park and other national parks this weekend. Campers were also reportedly shocked over the low gas prices.

The AAA report says that travel numbers have been the “highest volume for the Labor Day weekend since 2008.” Those numbers also show that 35.5 million Americans chose to travel farther than 50 miles from their home, while 30.4 million traveled in their cars. There were also 2.6 million Americans who flew out of the nation’s largest airports, making up for the most air travel over the Labor Day weekend since 2007.

What is the reason for the dip in gas prices and an increase in travel? According to another AAA spokesperson Beth Mosher, it has to do with “a strong labor market coupled with greater job security and rising home prices have all helped to increase disposable income. These positive indicators are allowing millions of Americans to travel on one last summer getaway.”

But there is a downside to having low gas prices. Employees in the Texas energy industry are suffering from cutbacks and layoffs caused by the plunging oil prices.

Kibbe added, “For the consumers, it’s good. But for the employee, it’s bad.”

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? Did you travel or stay at home? How much does gas cost in your state? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

[Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]