More Americans will hit the road this holiday weekend than a year ago. And they'll have a bit more money to spend thanks to lower gas prices.

Memorial Day kicks off the summer travel season, and since pump prices never reached $4 or $5 a gallon, as feared, economists says travelers are likely to dine out or shop more once they pull off the road.

Lowest Gas Prices in New Jersey
New Jersey Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

About 30.7 million people will drive more than 50 miles for Memorial Day trips, according to auto club AAA. That's 400,000 more than last year, a jump AAA attributes to improvement in the economy and consumer attitudes. The number of holiday travelers grows to 34.8 million when you include planes, trains and other means of transportation.

 

Gas prices are down 27 cents since their peak in early April, to $3.67 a gallon. That's 12 cents cheaper than last year.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)