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Labor Day travel likely to increase

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Will threat of Hurricane Earl reduce number of travelers on Virginia highways?

By Landmark News Service

The number of Virginians who will travel this Labor Day holiday is projected to increase 8.8 percent from 2009, AAA Mid-Atlantic said this week.
Travel growth in the state is expected to lag slightly behind the rest of the country, which will see a nearly 10 percent jump in travel during the long weekend of Thursday-Monday. AAA measures residents who travel at least 50 miles from home.
In Virginia, AAA anticipates about 929,350 people will take a trip, compared with 853,857 last year.
But median spending for the region is expected to be down significantly at $731 — 25 percent less than last year’s figure of $979.
AAA said the forecast indicates there is pent-up demand for trips, but people are watching their budgets carefully because of the sluggish economy.
Trips by car will be more popular this Labor Day, with 92.5 percent of Virginians driving to their destination.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the state will be about $2.45 to $2.55 per gallon, lower than the current national average of $2.67.
Air travel is expected to account for just over 4 percent of trips for Virginians, with 39,945 holiday fliers, a slight increase from one year ago.
The average round trip — by car, air and other means — is expected to be 754 miles, more than the national average of 635 miles.