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Cheaper gas won't mean more Labor Day drivers

August 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Fewer Americans plan to travel by car this Labor Day weekend, AAA says, despite gasoline prices that are about a dime a gallon lower than a year ago.

The auto club's annual Labor Day survey, conducted by the Travel Industry Assn., found that 28.9 million people will travel by car over the long weekend, down from 29 million last year.

Gas prices have fallen this summer to a national average of $2.75 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. That's down from $2.85 a year ago, but still high by historical standards.

"This year families appear to be concerned about the travel costs associated with an end of summer vacation, which may mean Americans aren't canceling previously planned trips but are not planning to travel more than they did last year," said Robert Darbelnet, president and chief executive of AAA.

Still, the number of people planning to travel more than 50 miles over the Labor Day weekend is expected to rise slightly to 34.6 million, AAA said.

The number of people planning to fly this weekend increased to 4.1 million from 4 million a year ago, the survey found, despite record flight congestion and delays.

Separately, the Air Transport Assn. of America said it expected 15.7 million passengers to fly globally on U.S. airlines from Wednesday to Sept. 5, a 2.6% increase over the same period last year.

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