Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer travel season, and according to AAA, higher gas prices won’t keep Americans off the road.

In a press release, AAA predicts that “34.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a slight increase of 0.2 percent – or 100,000 travelers – from the 34.8 million people who traveled one year ago.” Of that 34.9 million, 30.9 million will drive. The organization says that equates to nine out of 10 drivers, a significant figure considering the national average for a gallon of regular gas was $2.85 last Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day travel experienced a gain of more than 14 percent in 2010, and this year we expect to add slightly to that gain due to an increase in air travel and an improvement in the overall domestic economic picture,” says AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “Some travelers will compensate for the higher fuel costs by cutting other areas of their travel budgets.”

For drivers planning to hit the road over the holiday weekend, there are ways to save gas. If you’re taking your entire family on the road, consider renting a more fuel-efficient SUV if your car is too small or you drive one that guzzles gas. Another way to be fuel efficient is to change your driving habits. Don’t accelerate or brake too quickly. Also, the speed limit is designed to optimize fuel efficiency, so keeping a 65 mph pace will not only keep you from getting a ticket, but it will also save gas.

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