Arkansas motorists pay fifth-lowest gas prices in U.S. as Memorial Day approaches

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,176 views 

Average fuel prices declined in Arkansas as the number of Memorial Day (May 29) travelers is expected to be the third highest since 2000, according to AAA. The number of holiday travelers who will fly is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels and might be the highest since 2005.

In Arkansas, regular unleaded fuel declined by 2 cents to an average of $3.10 a gallon from $3.12 last week. The U.S. average was flat at $3.54 per gallon compared to a week ago. Arkansas motorists are paying the fifth-lowest price in the United States. Mississippi has the lowest price at $2.98, while California has the highest at $4.79.

According to AAA, lower crude oil prices have helped to reduce fuel prices. Over the past week, energy markets have been balanced, and crude oil prices have been stable at about $70 per barrel.

AAA expects the number of Americans who will travel at least 50 miles from home over the Memorial Day weekend to rise by 7% to 42.3 million, or 2.7 million more than last year. The number of those taking road trips is expected to rise by 6% to 37.1 million. That’s 2 million more people than last year when average U.S. fuel prices were more than $1 per gallon higher than existing prices.

“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier, despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at airports.”

The number of holiday travelers flying to their destinations is expected to rise by 11% to nearly 3.4 million people compared to last year. The number is up 5.4% from 2019 levels. According to AAA, the number of travelers opting to fly during the holiday weekend could be the highest since 2005.

According to a newsletter from Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill, holiday travelers should arrive at the airport two hours before departure time. XNA recently opened a TSA PreCheck Application Center allowing pre-approved travelers to reduce wait times at the security checkpoint. TSA PreCheck passengers also are exempt from removing shoes, laptops, belts and light jackets. Link here to set an appointment.

According to AAA, the number of holiday travelers who will take other transportation modes, including buses and trains, is expected to rise to 1.85 million, up 20.6% from last year.

According to transportation data provider INRIX, the best times to travel by vehicle are in the morning or evening after 6 p.m. The lightest traffic days will be May 27-28, while the busiest will be May 26.