Many Wisconsinites will be heading out this weekend for the last big holiday of the summer. AAA-Wisconsin estimates 31.5-million Americans will travel over the Labor Day weekend, with about 660,000 people from the Badger State planning a trip away from home.
The auto club’s Pam Moen says that down about 2.6-percent from last year. The decrease is consistent with drops seen on the other major summer holidays, which saw slight declines or minimal changes in travel estimates this year.
Moen says there are two likely reasons. The first is that the continuing poor performance of the economy is forcing people to reconsider expensive trips. The second is that gas prices in the Midwest remain above the national average.
As of Friday, the statewide average gas price for a regular unleaded fuel was about $2.75 a gallon. That’s compared to the national average of $3.64 a gallon.
Moen says Wisconsin and neighboring states have been sitting above the national average most of the summer. She says it’s largely because of repeated issues at refineries that provide fuel to the region, which have resulted in supply problems. While high gas prices may not force people to stay home, she says they do result in travelers not going as far as they might have otherwise.
For those traveling by road this weekend, drivers will not have to worry as much about ongoing construction. The state Department of Transportation will suspend work in construction zones starting at noon today, with work resuming Tuesday morning.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:20)