North Carolina drivers are projected to pay less at the gas pump this Memorial Day weekend than they did last year, AAA Carolinas said Monday.

Currently, regular unleaded gas averages $2.65 a gallon in the Triad, down 2 cents from last year.

However, AAA Carolinas said it is likely prices could drop further between now and Thursday, the start of the five-day holiday weekend.

“While gas prices have been up and down across the Carolinas, they are shaping up to be around 15 to 20 cents cheaper than last Memorial Day weekend, so we expect many Carolinians to hit the road to celebrate the long weekend,” AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Tiffany Wright said.

The agency is expecting that a record 1.3 million North Carolinians will drive to their holiday weekend destination, up 3.6% from last year.

Another 99,000 North Carolinians are expected to fly to their destination, up 4.8% year over year.

The agency says the busiest drive times will be late afternoon on Thursday and Friday as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

Over the Memorial Day holiday period in 2018, there were 3,462 crashes in North Carolina, resulting in 17 fatalities.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the “100 deadliest days” driving period — the period when teen traffic deaths historically rise, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

According to GasBuddy.com, the lowest gas price in Forsyth County on Monday was $2.43 at Gashopper, 890 W. Northwest Blvd. in Winston-Salem.

rcraver@wsjournal.com

336-727-7376

@rcraverWSJ

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