Families to use lower pump prices to make one last getaway before summer ends
BOISE – Travelers can expect busy roads and crowded airports for Labor Day weekend. According to AAA, overall bookings for airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and tours for the holiday are up 22% from a year ago.
Drivers will face the heaviest traffic on Thursday afternoon and Monday afternoon.
Based on AAA bookings, this year’s top Labor Day travel destinations include:
- Las Vegas, NV
- Seattle, WA
- Anaheim, CA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Jackson Hole, WY
- Oregon Coast
- Spokane, WA
- Honolulu, HI
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- San Diego, CA
State parks and the National Parks are also expected to be very busy over the weekend.
With the surge in Labor Day travel volume, families will also be paying more for the privilege. The average cheapest airfare is 30% more expensive than in 2020 during the heart of the pandemic. The lowest average rate for a AAA Three Diamond hotel is up 53%, and car rentals are up 32%.
“Gas prices have been steadily dropping since Independence Day, and while they’re still much higher than a year ago, that won’t be enough to deter most people from following through on their Labor Day travel plans,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “It’s clear from the increase in travel bookings that people are willing to spend more for one last summer hurrah.”
Idaho’s average price for regular gas is $4.56 per gallon, which is seven cents less than a week ago and 35 cents less than a month ago, but 76 cents more than a year ago. Drivers in other parts of the nation are faring better, with the U.S. average currently sitting at $3.83 per gallon, which is five cents less than a week ago and 38 cents less than a month ago, but 66 cents more than a year ago.
The West Texas Intermediate benchmark for crude oil recently dipped below $90 per barrel due to expectations of decreased demand after Labor Day, which may bring additional relief at the pump.
Here’s a seven-year retrospective on Labor Day gas prices:
AAA anticipates providing roadside assistance for as many as 545,000 vehicle disablements over the Labor Day weekend, including 960 here in Idaho. In addition to towing due to a mechanical issue, the main culprits will be flat tires, dead batteries, and lockouts. Travelers are encouraged to have their cars checked by a trusted mechanic before they hit the road. For a list of AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities, visit AAA.com/autorepair.
“At this time of year, temperatures can fluctuate dramatically at night and at different elevations,” Conde said. “Don’t forget your emergency kit essentials, such as food and water, extra clothing and blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflectors, a first-aid kit, and basic tools.”
Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices as of 9/1/22:
- Boise – $4.68
- Coeur d’Alene – $4.30
- Franklin – $4.58
- Idaho Falls – $4.53
- Lewiston – $4.01
- Pocatello – $4.66
- Rexburg – $4.67
- Twin Falls – $4.64