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AAA: Memorial Day busiest travel weekend since 2005

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Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

FARGO - A travel federation predicts this Memorial Day will be the busiest in almost 10 years, according to a release.

AAA Travel estimated approximately 36.1 Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the Memorial Day weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from last year.

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“Steady economic growth combined with a long, cold winter has given many Americans the travel bug,” said Gene LaDoucer, a spokesman for AAA in North Dakota. “For families in the upper Midwest, lower fuel costs compare to record-high averages of a year ago should also help boost numbers to a new post-recession high.”

The forecasts is 2.6 percent higher than the 10-year historical average and the second highest since 2000. Travelers set the record in 2005.

AAA defines the Memorial Day weekend as May 22-26. Approximately 88 percent are expected to travel by automobile.

In related news, gas prices should stay below the $4 mark nationwide, and motorists in North Dakota should see prices much lower than that, according to AAA. Regular fuel across the state averaged $3.57 as of Friday, more than 30 cents less than last year.

Drivers in North Dakota paid almost $4 in May 2013, but then saw that price drop to almost $3 in December. The price has risen steadily since but is still below the national average of $3.65.

“Overall it is unlikely gas prices will have a significant effect on the national forecast numbers to last year,” LaDoucer said.