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Gasoline prices wonâ??t reduce holiday travel


February 16. 2013 8:33PM
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Rising gas prices are not likely to limit the plans of the more than 43,000 Wilkes-Barre area travelers AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates will travel for the Labor Day holiday.


The projections are that 2.3 percent more people will travel 50 miles or more this weekend compared to the same weekend last year. The Labor Day holiday travel period is defined as today through Monday.


AAA spokeswoman Jana L. Tidwell said a small percentage of people might change their plans to travel this weekend because of gas prices that rose three cents overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and may continue to climb over the next few days by a few pennies per gallon.


"But historically, what we've seen is that people make their plans well in advance and most people will keep those plans," Tidwell said.


Pump prices are expected to rise over the next few days as Hurricane Isaac makes its way through the Gulf Coast and into the nation's interior, but not like the dramatic spikes Hurricane Katrina caused seven years ago when that storm ravaged the same region.


Katrina damaged oil production rigs and refineries and caused gas prices to escalate quickly and the higher prices lingered for weeks as repairs were made and production was down. While rigs and refineries are temporarily shut down due to Isaac, there are no reports of damage and they should be operational within days.


AAA projects that 36,090, or 84 percent of those traveling in this region will do so by automobile. Nine percent, or 3,881, will get to their destination by flying. It's those travelers, and others who are going on cruises, that could be affected by Isaac, which slammed the Gulf Coast Tuesday and Wednesday and is expected to move through the nation's interior toward the Great Lakes.


Isaac already has disrupted flights and cruises in the Southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. Hundreds of flights were canceled in Florida, and cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises have changed some itineraries. AAA Mid-Atlantic reminds travelers to check for changes with their agents and to get travel insurance.


Local gas prices Wednesday averaged $3.76 per gallon, 15 cents more than last year at this time when the average was $3.61.




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