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Labor Day Traffic Will Be Soul-Sucking Thanks To Low Gas Prices

By Kate Shepherd in News on Aug 28, 2015 5:10PM

Photo credit: Jonathan Lurie

Millions of Americans are likely to fit in a final summer getaway over Labor Day, so travelers can expect a busy weekend at airports and on highways across the country. And due to rising incomes and low gas prices, 35.5 million Americans are expected to travel next weekend, the most since Labor Day 2008, according to a prediction by AAA.

In Illinois, Labor Day gas prices are expected to be the lowest they’ve been since 2010, according to AAA. About 1.9 million Illinoisans will travel at least 50 miles for Labor Day weekend and 1.7 million of those travelers will take advantage of the low gas prices and drive.

Gas prices in the Chicago area have decreasing for over a week after the shutdown of crude distillation unit at the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. caused a brief, sharp spike in prices, according to the Tribune. On Thursday a gallon of regular unleaded gas cost $3.17 compared with $3.43 a week ago.

"A strong labor market coupled with greater job security and rising home prices have all helped to increase disposable income," AAA Chicago spokesperson Beth Mosher said in a press release. "Though some consumers remain cautious, these positive indicators are driving a slight increase and allowing millions of Americans to travel on one last summer getaway."

Nationally car and air travel are expected to grow this year, by 1.1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.