AAA expects increase in drivers traveling for Memorial Day weekend

AAA Carolinas is expecting an estimated 443,550 South Carolina motorists to make road trips this Memorial Day weekend. That's a 1. 5 percent increase over last year.

One reason?

A significant drop in gas prices.

The average for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Palmetto state is $3.24, the lowest in the nation. That's down 38 cents since peaking on February 22. It's also 10 cents a gallon cheaper than this time last year.

"Lower gas prices and a slowly improving economy means more people will travel this holiday weekend to spend time with family and friends," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "This weekend's favorable weather forecast will also encourage many last-minute travelers to get away for Memorial Day."

A total of 505,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home, with a drop in those flying to 31,450, down 5% from 33,100 last year.

Other travel (bus, rail, maritime) is expected to remain flat at 30,000.

Charleston has South Carolina's highest gas prices at $3.30 and Spartanburg has the lowest $3.20.

South Carolina motorists will see higher gas prices in North Carolina ($3.43) and Georgia ($3.46).

The most congested times for travel are expected to be Friday afternoon and evening and Monday evening.

The five-day Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 23, through Monday, May 27.

To estimate fuel costs, travelers can go to