As the summer winds down, Carolinian’s are gearing up to take one last vacation over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. In 2016, an estimated 1,032,000 North Carolinian’s and 460,000 South Carolinian’s traveled for the long weekend – 86 percent of those by car. AAA Carolinas predicts these numbers will ring in just as high this year, if not higher.
Labor Day marks the end of the summer driving season, a time when gas prices typically decrease. But, due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Harvey, the end-of-summer price drop Carolinian’s are accustomed to might not occur as quickly. To date, an estimated eight refineries have temporarily ceased production. While it is unknown how long they will remain closed, Harvey is expected to continue dumping rain on the area until as late as Friday.
Gas prices in the Carolina’s have now risen to a statewide average of $2.29 in North Carolina (a ten cent increase from a week ago) and $2.19 in South Carolina (a 13 cent increase from a week ago). There may be another spike in prices before the week is over.
“We are hurting for the victims of Hurricane Harvey,” said AAA Carolinas president Dave Parsons. “Here in the Carolina’s, we may be feeling the effects at the pump. It is important to remember not to panic and overbuy gas – as there is no evidence that there will be a shortage in our states. We encourage drivers to go about their Labor Day vacations as planned and not to panic at the pump.”
To estimate fuel costs, travelers can go to www.fuelcostcalculator.com to input starting city, destination, and the make and model of the car.
The top driving destinations for Carolinians this holiday are Myrtle Beach, SC, Charleston, SC and Raleigh, NC, according to AAA Vacations – the largest leisure travel agency in the Carolinas – which tracks personalized drive trip routes. The top flying destinations include Alaska, Ireland and Italy.
AAA Carolinas wants to encourage motorists to be vigilant in their travels in order to get to their destinations safely. According to the NCDOT, 926 people were injured and 16 were killed in 2016 due to road collisions over the holiday weekend. The SCDOT reports 453 people were injured and 11 killed over the same time frame.
“These statistics are significant and climbing from the years prior,” said Parsons. “With so many distractions available, it is crucial to put your safety and the safety of your family first. Please put mobile devices away, never drink and drive, adhere to the speed limit and buckle up.”
The NCDOT is conducting its 23rd year of “Booze It & Lose” it to reduce the instances of drunk driving – in which thousands of checkpoints will be set up across the state to crack down on impaired motorists. In an effort to make a Labor Day weekend plan, vacationers are encouraged to visit BeSmarterThanThat.com before hitting the roads.
The South Carolina Trucking Association is administering a “Labor Day Safety Break” in Orangeburg, SC on Friday, September 1st to answer questions and educate motorists about highway safety. In addition, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety will be heavily enforcing checkpoints through its “Sober or Slammer” campaign.
AAA Carolinas reminds drivers to use caution and good judgement while traveling this weekend in order to have a safe and happy holiday.
The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android devices uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find updated gas prices, view nearby member discounts and access AAA Roadside Assistance.