Boone gas prices highest in state
by Anna Oakes
"Boone has North Carolina's highest average gas price at $3.712, and the cheapest gas in the state is in Greensboro and Winston-Salem at $3.59 a gallon," the organization said. "The North Carolina average of $3.624 is the 27th highest in the country. South Carolina's average price is $3.461."
Boone's gas prices are up 34 cents compared with Memorial Day weekend a year ago, a chart from AAA indicated.
Travelers heading south will find prices in the $3.60 range in Georgia and Florida; those heading north will find prices around $3.45 in Virginia, and those heading west will find Tennessee prices around $3.45, AAA said.
AAA estimated that 977,700 North Carolina motorists -- a 1.8 percent increase over last year and the highest number in nine years -- were expected to vacation by automobile this Memorial Day weekend, despite gas prices averaging $3.624 a gallon -- 20 cents higher than last year.
A total of 1,094,400 North Carolinians will travel more than 50 miles from home, with the top drive destinations being Myrtle Beach, S.C., Charlotte, Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Williamsburg, Va.
To estimate fuel costs for trips, travelers can visit http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com to input starting city, destination and the make and model of their car.
AAA also forecasted an increase in those flying this weekend, up to 80,800, up 2.9 percent from 78,500 last year.
Other travel (mostly bus, rail, maritime) will increase 9.1 percent from 32,800 last year to 35,900 by North Carolinians this year, it said.
Average national hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are up 2 percent to $169 per night, compared to $166 last year, while AAA Two Diamond hotel rates have risen 3 percent to $124 per night from $120 last year.
Car rental rates will average $44 per day, up 1 percent from last year and air fares on the top 40 U.S. routes have increased 6 percent to $227 from $215 last year.
Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of "the 100 deadliest days of driving" for teens, and nationally, this weekend annually averages more than 400 traffic deaths overall and 42,000 significant injuries, AAA said.
One of the greatest contributing factors in fatal accidents involving teen drivers is the number of other teen passengers in the car.
Fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase five times when two or more teen passengers are present, compared to driving alone.
AAA recommends parents discuss this and other driver distraction issues, such as texting or using a cell phone while driving, with their teens.