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Memorial Day weekend in Michigan: Higher gas prices, more crowded airports

Sunoco gas station
Michigan residents are paying slightly more for gas than they did last year as prices increase ahead of Memorial Day weekend. (Bridge photo by Janelle D. James)
  • About 1.2 million Michiganders are expected to travel this weekend, AAA says
  • Gas prices increase slightly ahead of Memorial Day weekend
  • Airports are expected be busy as nearly 70,000 Michigan residents travel by plane

As Michiganders prepare to hit the road — and take to the skies — for Memorial Day weekend, they can expect to find more expensive gasoline, fewer orange barrels blocking traffic lanes and busier airports.

AAA predicts about 1.2 million Michiganders will travel at least 50 miles over the weekend, the second-highest forecast since 2000. Most travelers — 1.1 million — will do so by car, while nearly 70,000 will travel by plane, AAA says.


Road-trippers may get an unwelcome surprise at the pump. As of Wednesday, Michigan drivers were paying an average of $3.65 for a gallon of regular gas. A year earlier, the price was $3.57, and that rose to $3.60 per gallon during the holiday weekend.  


"With an increase in demand from the rush of drivers filling up for Memorial Day, pump prices will likely increase ahead of the holiday weekend," said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson for AAA.

The news isn’t all bad. Drivers may encounter fewer traffic headaches this weekend: The Michigan Department of Transportation announced that it’s suspending work on 85 of 154 road-construction projects to increase safety. 

Airfare is slightly higher than it was last year. The average price for a domestic flight round-trip ticket this holiday weekend is about $778, 2% more than it was the previous year according to AAA. The average price for an international flight round-trip ticket is $1,485, 4% more than it was last year.

The busy passenger terminal at the airport in Detroit. Lots of people walking, a red tram
A passenger terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. AAA expects 3.5 million Americans to travel by air this holiday weekend. (Thomas Barrat /

AAA says travelers can expect airports to be more crowded this weekend — the most they’ve been since Memorial Day 2005. That year, a record 3.6 million people traveled during the holiday weekend, as the industry  rebounded from the 9/11 attacks. AAA expects 3.5 million people to travel by air this holiday weekend. 

“Memorial Day will be the start to a very busy summer of travel,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group, in a statement. “American travelers are forecast to surpass pre-pandemic levels, making this the busiest Memorial Day holiday weekend in nearly two decades. The main driver of the projection is strong consumer interest in traveling both domestically and abroad. Interest in traveling internationally is at the highest level in recent years.”


Pump prices 

AAA listed the average per-gallon price for regular gas in these Michigan metropolitan areas:

  • Ann Arbor:  $3.72 
  • Benton Harbor: $3.60 
  • Flint: $3.63
  • Grand Rapids/Muskegon/Holland: $3.68 
  • Jackson:  $3.74  
  • Lansing/East Lansing: $3.72
  • Marquette: $3.58 
  • Metro Detroit: $3.64
  • Saginaw/Bay City/Midland: $3.68
  • Traverse City: $3.63 

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