Labor Day weekend is the symbolic end of summer and the last major holiday for a while, so many people take advantage of the three-day weekend to take a quick trip. AAA Kansas is providing an outlook on gas prices, popular Labor Day destinations, and recommendations for car maintenance and travel safety tips so travelers are prepared for an enjoyable holiday trip.
Hitting the Highways
Most people travel by highway for Labor Day weekend, and the cost of the road trip is on the minds of many motorists.
“Gas prices in Kansas have been on the decline over the past few weeks. The statewide average is $2.62, which is down three cents from a week ago and five cents from a month ago,” AAA Kansas spokeswoman Jennifer Haugh said. ”With Labor Day approaching, motorists could see a small swing towards higher gas prices, but we don’t anticipate any jump lasting past the holiday weekend.”
Last year’s Labor Day weekend saw gas prices spike, but that was due to Hurricane Harvey. As it battered Texas and the gulf coast, it shut down refineries and pipelines driving gas prices toward their highest point of 2017. Despite no expected hurricane activity this Labor Day weekend, gas prices will be at their highest point for the holiday since 2014.
“One year ago, the Kansas average was $2.21, but even though we’re now 41 cents higher, we’re still 22 cents below the current national average ($2.84), and Kansas now has the 11th cheapest gas in the nation,” Haugh said. “Several states in our region – including Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas – are all among the nation’s top 10 in lowest gas prices, so if you’re traveling close to home this Labor Day, your wallet won’t be taking a big hit.”
Saving at the Pumps
With gas prices about 40-50 cents more than a year ago, that will make road trips a little more expensive this year. But AAA Kansas says there are things motorists can do to get better gas mileage and save money at the pumps during their Labor day trip:
• Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
• Stick to the speed limit.
• Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check the sticker inside the driver’s door or the vehicle owner’s manual for recommended tire air pressure.
• Replace the vehicle’s air filter.
According to AAA Kansas motorist advisors, some of Kansans’ most popular road trip destinations for Labor Day weekend are:
• Branson, Missouri and the Ozarks
• Estes Park, Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder, Colorado
• Larger cities in our region, including Kansas City, Wichita, Omaha, Oklahoma City and Tulsa because of their many interesting sights, activities and fun of all kinds.
“For those interested in an in-state adventure, there is so much to see all over Kansas,” Haugh said. “You can visit one of the many lakes and reservoirs in the Sunflower State, drive one of the 12 scenic and historical byways around the state or visit some of the state’s world-class museums, among so many other wonderful and often hidden gems.”
AAA Kansas reminds motorists to keep in mind that highways will be more congested during the holiday weekend, so to plan accordingly for extra traffic and observe several safety tips while on the road:
• Obey posted speed limits, especially in construction zones.
• Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Be extra vigilant and leave extra space for motorcycles.
• Have everyone in your vehicle wear seat belts at all times.
• Avoid distractions while driving. Do not text or use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. If needed, let a passenger respond to a message or look something up on your phone.
• Never drink and drive
Is Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready?
Every holiday travel weekend, AAA Kansas roadside assistance rescues thousands of stranded motorists. To avoid that fate, AAA reminds travelers to make sure their vehicles are properly checked and maintained so they are ready for the road:
• Get an oil change.
• Check the battery.
• Check the tires for wear and be sure to properly air them up – don’t forget the spare.
• Check other systems such as fluids, hoses and belts, and make sure all of your lights (headlights, tail lights and turn signals) operate properly.