(Adds Tuesday gasoline prices)
NEW YORK Aug 21 More American travelers will
take to the road this Labor Day weekend as consumer confidence
remains intact despite the sluggish economy and high gasoline
prices, travel group AAA said on Tuesday.
AAA expects 33 million Americans will either drive or fly
over the holiday weekend between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3. This is
the largest number of travelers since 2008 and up 2.9 percent
from a year earlier.
About 28.2 million motorists will drive to their
destinations, a 3.1 percent increase from last year's levels.
And 2.55 million will fly to their vacation, up 3.7 percent from
a year earlier, AAA added.
(Graphic: link.reuters.com/tak22t )
"In the absence of strong economic growth ... it is an
encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel,"
Bill Sutherland, vice president of AAA Travel Services said in a
The forecast, based on a survey of 50,000 U.S. households,
found that 66 percent of respondents do not expect their current
financial situation to have a negative bearing on their Labor
Day weekend plans.
Motorists will continue to take a hit at the pump, however.
Gasoline sold for an average $3.71 a gallon on Tuesday, 4
percent higher than a year ago. Prices had reached the highest
level for Aug. 20 according to AAA's records at $3.72 a gallon
on Monday and the group expects costs to remain high over the
next few weeks.
Costs at the pump have prompted policymakers to consider a
response, with the White House saying a release from the
country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve is under consideration.
(Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)