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High gas prices won’t deter Memorial Day weekend travel, AAA exec says

High gas prices won't deter Memorial Day weekend travel, AAA exec says

Despite prices at the pump hitting a record high, an American Automobile Association executive argued Friday gas costs won’t deter travelers this Memorial Day weekend. 

“Certainly there will be some behavioral changes, but people are going to travel… they are not willing to give up the respite that they deserve,” AAA Senior Vice President of Travel Paula Twidale told “Varney & Co.” 

Twidale noted some examples of the “behavioral changes” would be not renting a car for an extended period or booking “all-inclusive accommodations.”

“You may see behavioral changes like being a little bit more flexible, trying to save money, choosing to travel with a buddy… saving up about 20% to book that information in advance to get the better deal,” she suggested. 

HIGHER GAS PRICES ARE ‘ACCEPTED’ BY AMERICANS AMID TRAVEL DEMAND, ENERGY ECONOMIST SAYS

On Friday, the national average of one gallon of gas was $4.59, according to AAA. Last year it was priced at $3.04 — $1.55 less, as Americans continue to feel the pain at the pump with record gas prices. 

Meanwhile, 39.2 million Americans are traveling this holiday weekend, as airports are “packed” and drivers are continuing to hit the road, Twidale noted. 

Host Ashley Webster asked if Americans have reached a point of “demand destruction” with travel.

AAA Senior Vice President of Travel Paula Twidale told FOX Business that Americans will continue to travel ahead of the Memorial Day weekend despite high gas prices but with ‘behavioral changes.’  (AP Photo/Ashley Landis / AP Newsroom)

“I don’t think it’s demand destruction yet. Certainly not,” Twidale responded. 

“39.2 million is 92% of 2019, and 2019 was a banner travel year… more people may start to opt to do a little less car driving and opt to take an air trip because of the… energy saved at that point in time,” she said. “Look at airfare right now. Lowest airfare is about up 6% from last year.”

Twidale argued the “immense demand” for travel comes amid a “supply and demand issue” due to low inventory. 

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“We’re encouraging people to book early, be flexible, book ahead, do all the things you can do,” she suggested.

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