NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport residents hitting the road for the holiday weekend will have plenty of company, as reports indicate that Labor Day traffic will increase nationally by more than a million people compared to last year.
According to AAA, the national travel assistance company, there will be 34.1 million Americans traveling over Labor Day weekend, up from an estimated 32.7 million last year, and of this year’s travelers, 85 percent of them will be traveling by car.
“That translates into 29.2 million people, and that’s up 4.3 percent from last year,” said John Paul, a spokesperson for AAA. “So looking at that, there are going to be certain times where there are a lot of people on the road.”
Paul said the heaviest traffic will occur at the usual peak times, which include Friday afternoon and evening, Saturday morning and then again on Monday night. People who are planning on traveling should remember to check their fluids and tires before leaving, and if traffic jams could be an issue, people shouldn’t wait until they’re in traffic to fill up their tanks.
“Be patient if there are traffic jams, and allow plenty of time,” Paul said. “If you’re going to be in an area with lots of traffic, fill up your tank first. Don’t head up to Boston or Winnipesaukee with a quarter of a tank.”
As far as gas is concerned, travelers will benefit from the recent decline in gas prices over the past few weeks. Paul said Boston’s average gas price is currently around $3.67, and while the prices are a few cents higher on the North Shore and on Cape Cod, the average trend has been positive.
“For people heading up that way, there is a little difference, but gas prices, it’s that steady decline we’ve seen in gas prices over the past few weeks that gives people a sense of encouragement,” Paul said.