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High gas prices drive up summer travel costs

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Commerce Department reported personal spending was up four-tenths of a percent last month. But we’re spending the increase on more expensive food and gasoline. Gas that fills our cars up so we can go go go. And as we say hello to a long holiday weekend, what’s the consensus on getting out of dodge?

AA ran some numbers on who’s traveling and Heather Hunter from AAA is with us now. Good morning.

HEATHER HUNTER: Good morning Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: I know gas prices have eased up a little bit just in the past few weeks but we’re still a lot higher than they where this time last year. How’s that affecting travel do you think over the holiday weekend?

HUNTER: Gas prices are more than $1 per gallon higher than they were last year. But we are expecting to see a slight increase in the Memorial Day travelers this weekend compared to last year thanks to a growth in the overall domestic economic picture. We are seeing a slight gain from last year.

CHIOTAKIS: So gas prices really are playing that much of a role?

HUNTER: We did also survey respondents that were intending to travel and asking them about the impact of gasoline on their travel plans. Four of ten said that the price of gasoline would affect their travel. And of them the majority said that they would make up for that portion of their budget in other areas. Maybe by taking a shorter trip, or going for fewer nights, cutting back on shopping for example.

CHIOTAKIS: What about the summer travel season? How’s that shaping up?

HUNTER: This is really the first summer holiday — the unofficial start of the summer travel season. So we are optimistic that we’re seeing growth for next year. And we’ll see how that leads into summer.

CHIOTAKIS: All right, Heather Hunter with AAA. Heather thanks.

HUNTER: Thank you.

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