With gas prices up nationwide and a sputtering economy, AAA estimates fewer travelers this year for the final hurrah of summer.
Labor Day travel is expected to be down 2.4 percent nationwide to 31.5 million people. In South Dakota, that number is slated down 2.5 percent, to 66,762 people across all modes of transportation.
Gas prices have risen since last Labor Day by nearly a full dollar. Last year, the national average for gas was $2.68, and in South Dakota, it was $2.72. The average price of gasoline on Wednesday in Rapid City was $3.562
U.S. auto travel is expected to be up slightly, and air travel is expected to fall. The national average for distance traveled is also expected to decrease 4 percent to 608 miles.
Gas data is provided by AAA at www.AAAFuelGuageReport.com.
South Dakota Department of Public Safety officials urge motorists to take extra care on the highways over the long weekend.
Four people died and 78 others were injured on South Dakota roads during the past two Labor Day weekends. Two of the four fatal crashes were alcohol-related.
"Most crashes are preventable,'' Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. "Designating a sober driver and making it a firm practice never to drink and drive would greatly increase the chances of having a safe trip and an enjoyable holiday weekend.''
The South Dakota Highway Patrol and Office of Highway Safety are participating with more than 60 local law enforcement agencies in a high-visibility enforcement program during the Labor Day weekend.