ATLANTA — As drivers scramble to find gas, and demand dramatically rises due to fears of a shortage, people are still expected to take trips during Memorial Day weekend.
According to a AAA Memorial Day travel forecast published Tuesday, more than 34 million U.S. vacationers, will travel by car this Memorial Day.
"As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day," Paula Twidale, the senior vice president for AAA Travel, said in a statement.
Although AAA warned that the Colonial Pipeline shutdown could cause some shortages, experts pointed out more than 1.1 million people in Georgians are expected to hit the road during the holiday weekend, which is estimated to be a 62% increase from last year, due to the pandemic.
Colonial Pipeline also confirmed Wednesday evening it was restarting it's operations. However, they said it would take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal.
"Last year, at this time, we were talking about safety over Memorial Day and warning people not to travel," Twidale said. "It's really remarkable that it's a year later, and the advice that I'm giving now is going to be totally different. ... People can travel; they can do so safely once they're fully vaccinated. And I'm so excited to be able to encourage individuals to be getting together with their loved ones once again."
So far, the gas shortage has affected 60% of metro Atlanta gas stations, according to Patrick De Haan, an analyst with the industry tracking firm GasBuddy. Despite the shortage, there are about 2,500 gas stations still able to service customers.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday 11Alive found there are around 4,614 gas stations across the state. An estimated 45% or 2,076 gas stations are experiencing a gas shortage.
So, where are Americans headed this Memorial Day weekend?
According to AAA, the top Memorial Day road trip destinations this year include Las Vegas; Orlando; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Denver; and Nashville.
While it is not clear when the shortage will end or how high the gas prices could rise in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp said there is no need to panic.
"There is no need to fill up every tank that you have or hoard gasoline," Gov. Kemp said. "Don't do things you don't need to do. Do what you need to and just use good common sense."
In the meantime, if your Memorial travels take you out of state, you'll want to search Gas Buddy to see if where fuel shortages reportedly are and if prices are higher or lower near the state line.
AAA's website defined the Memorial Day weekend as Thursday, May 27 through Monday, May 31.