Traveling this weekend? It could cost you

Memorial Day Weekend travel
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:54 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The summer travel season unofficially starts this holiday weekend. AAA is predicting nearly 3.5 million Americans will take to the skies.

With huge crowds expected at U.S. airports, the Department of Transportation has developed a two-fold approach toward the airlines: working with them while also applying pressure if need be.

“We are working collaboratively with the airlines wherever we can to take steps that are going to help them reduce congestion and increase capacity,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “and then when things go wrong, we are using our tools to press airlines to continue improving customer service and to continue improving performance.”

The FAA projects more than 51,000 flights on Thursday alone.

Buttigieg says it will be “a test of the system.”

Whether you travel by air or by ground for Memorial Day, it’ll cost you.

Prices at the pump continue to increase and experts say there might not be much of a difference between flying and driving.

According to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan, local prices tend to go up in early May.

That’s because gas stations switch to a more expensive, but supposedly cleaner burning “summer blend” of gasoline.

That is mandated by the EPA.

Officials say it helps cut down on emissions.

“Gas prices, even though they’ve gone up, they’re still about 85 cents a gallon below what they were a year ago,” De Haan said.

Across New York, prices have been on the rise since the end of March, though they’ve dipped slightly in May to an average of $3.64 a gallon Tuesday. At the end of last May, the state average was around $4.80.

Nationwide, Tuesday’s average was $3.50, down from $4.60 a year ago.

If you’re hoping to save by flying, though, AAA says that isn’t saving people much this year, as airfare prices are significantly higher than before.