With the national average gas price averaging $2.93, travelers are paying the highest Memorial Day weekend prices since 2014, which reached $3.65. However, AAA predicts these rising gas prices will not put a damper on Floridians’ travel plans this holiday weekend.
According to AAA, the average price for unleaded gas in Florida is $2.84 per gallon. By county, the average gas price in Hillsborough is $2.79, $2.81 in Pasco, $2.76 in Pinellas and $2.81 in Polk and Manatee. AAA Spokesman Mark Jenkins said these prices will not impact the number of drivers this weekend.
“By and large, I wouldn’t expect gas prices to have a big impact on travel,” Jenkins said. “We’re still forecasting the most travelers in more than a dozen years.”
AAA predicts two million Floridians will be on the road this Memorial Day weekend.
“We’ve seen this steady increase at the pump, but it wasn’t anything that happened overnight, so people have had some time to prepare for this,” Jenkins said. “They’re budgeting for it, and for those people who don’t have a very big gasoline budget, they’re looking to allocate some money from other nonessential expenses.”
Jenkins estimates that motorists will pay about $42 to fill the tank, an $8 increase from last year. Florida's average gas price last year was $2.30.
Travelers can improve their fuel economy by reducing excess weight, avoiding aggressive starts and stops and managing air conditioning, according to Jenkins.
“Air conditioner is one of the biggest draws on fuel economy, so if whenever you first get into the vehicle and it’s really hot, instead of just turning the AC on full blast, roll down the windows,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins adds that if prices exceed $3 or climb significantly higher, drivers may be dissuaded from taking long road trips this summer.