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Thread: Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

    By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
    Falling fuel prices may give a last-minute boost to Labor Day weekend travel, but the untimely appearance of Tropical Storm Ernesto could cut into beach-bound traffic on the East Coast.

    "So far, so good. Demand is still strong," says Amy Ziff, editor-at-large for travel website Travelocity. "We see a lot of people having their last summer hurrah."

    Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is the fifth-busiest U.S. travel weekend of the year.

    A sudden drop in gasoline prices was an unexpected holiday gift for drivers. The average price of a gallon of gasoline has fallen 11 cents in the past week to about $2.79 for regular grade and $3.08 for premium nationwide, according to AAA figures. While that is a huge drop from summer highs, it's still roughly 20 cents more than for the same weekend last year.

    AAA predicts 35.2 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home this holiday, which would be a 1.2% bump from last year. About 29.6 million of those ? or 84% ? will go by motor vehicle.

    While that amounts to an overall increase, it would be the second-smallest projected rise since Memorial Day 2003, when holiday travel began to rebound after the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraq invasion, AAA says.

    The West is expected to produce the most holiday travelers by auto, truck or RV, with 7.4 million, followed by the Southeast with 6.9 million; the Midwest with 5.7 million; the Northeast with 5 million; and the Great Lakes with 4.6 million.

    The West is also expected to boast the largest number of air travelers with 1.5 million, followed by the Southeast at 1.2 million; the Northeast will produce 500,000 air travelers, the Great Lakes 400,000 and the Midwest 300,000.

    On the East Coast, however, Ernesto's sweep up the Atlantic coast may cut into some of those travel plans.

    Forecasters predict the nation's worst weather in the USA this Labor Day weekend will be Friday and Saturday in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Ernesto's remnants could produce heavy rain and resulting floods that will slow driving along the I-95 corridor from Virginia to Boston.

    Airline travel may be disrupted in this region due to the heavy rain, wind and the possibility of thunderstorms. By Sunday, the heaviest rain will be confined to New England, although residual flooding could still be causing problems in the Mid-Atlantic.

    "We expect that Labor Day will fall short this year, and we're concerned," says Rob Varley, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism, about midway up Florida's Atlantic coast. "I think, with the weather, and the threat we had from Ernesto, I think we'll only do about 80% occupancy" this weekend, rather than a near-sellout.

    Mike Pina, spokesman for AAA, says travelers affected by Ernesto will likely wait until the last minute to decide whether to hit the road.

    "If they decide its too dangerous or not worth the aggravation, they will probably stay home," says Pina.

    Weather, however, is not expected to be a big factor elsewhere in the country. Apart from Ernesto, the only major rain producer predicted for the USA this weekend is a cold front dropping out of Canada into the Northern Plains. Thunderstorms are forecast for the Dakotas and Minnesota.

    Labor Day travel will be the first major test of how airlines handle a 20% to 40% increase in checked luggage as a result of tighter security restrictions that ban toothpaste and hair gel from carry-on bags.

    Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, a hub for AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, expects a 2.4% rise in Labor Day traffic, capping its busiest summer since 2000.

    Los Angeles International Airport, a hub of UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, expects about 810,000 travelers, a 4% boost over last year, because of more domestic and international flights and fuller planes.

    There were signs, however, that some travelers are opting to drive rather than fly on shorter trips. Highway rest stop operator HMSHost Corp. reports sales in the week leading up to Labor Day are up about 7% at its 33,000-square-foot Maryland House rest stop on the Maryland turnpike, says spokeswoman Rana Florida.

    But for all those with stay-at-home-blues over gasoline prices or Ernesto rains, there are others who may benefit.

    Many of the nation's best-known park lodges still have rooms available this weekend, thanks to a decline in bookings driven by higher gas prices and the growing trend of schools resuming classes earlier. Rooms also are plentiful at many parks through September and into fall.

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

    $2.70 a gallon near me in Clearwater, Florida.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    $2.70 a gallon near me in Clearwater, Florida.
    We're about the same here in rural SW Virginia... still costs me $30 to fill up the little truck... which is what I used to pay to gas up my gas pig muscle car!

  4. #4
    TC
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    Re: Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    $2.70 a gallon near me in Clearwater, Florida.
    We're about the same here in rural SW Virginia... still costs me $30 to fill up the little truck... which is what I used to pay to gas up my gas pig muscle car!
    Dropped to $2.65 today in Clearwater. Keeps going down like this and we will be back to $1.29 before we know it.
    [Some hopes.]

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    Re: Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

    Yipeeee. Now I can buy my Navigator. Yeah. Right.

    I hope that the stupid, ignorant public doesn't start to take cheaper fuel for granted and resume their idiotic consumption patterns.

    I don't favor CAFE or any other type of regulation, but geez, we should be a little mindful of the events that have taken place over the last 6 years.

    I saw 2.77 here in Sanford, FL. We're getting ripped off.


  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Gas prices actually dropped this Labor Day weekend...

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    Yipeeee. Now I can buy my Navigator. Yeah. Right.

    I hope that the stupid, ignorant public doesn't start to take cheaper fuel for granted and resume their idiotic consumption patterns.

    I don't favor CAFE or any other type of regulation, but geez, we should be a little mindful of the events that have taken place over the last 6 years.

    I saw 2.77 here in Sanford, FL. We're getting ripped off.


    Amen - agreed on all points.

    I don't favor CAFE-style regulations, either - and figure the people driving around in $50k SUVs are self-taxing, so to speak. I think they're idiots, myself - but that's as far as I'd take it since they could just as readily call me an idiot for wanting to ride a high-performance sport bike or own a muscle car.

    Some like McMansions and Navigators... I just wish there were fewer of them!

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