(NEW YORK) — Summer unofficially kicks off this weekend and millions plan to hit the road for Memorial Day.
The automobile group AAA expects that nearly 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles from home for the holiday weekend — a 1.2 percent increase over last year.
That boost is partly due to drivers getting some relief at the pump. Gas prices have fallen about 25 cents in April, contradicting predictions by experts who said they would hit $5 a gallon by Memorial Day.
Yahoo! Finance’s Daniel Gross says several global factors have led to the drop in price.
“Tensions with Iran have lessened and that was pushing oil and gas prices up. The global economy has certainly slowed down,” he notes.
Another reason for the decrease, Gross explains, is that Americans are using less gasoline.
“Our cars are much more fuel efficient. GM sold 100,000 cars in March that got 35 miles a gallon or more. A lot more people are riding the bus. There’s a lot more light rail than there used to be,” he says.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Aaron Smith, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Tara Bench, KSL.com
Jose Pagliery, CNN