By Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County motorists and others can expect a very busy Labor Day holiday weekend not only when it comes to traffic but also pain at the pump.

AAA Michigan spokeswoman Adrienne Woodland says traditionally, Labor Day is the last big travel weekend of the summer and the third busiest summer travel holiday behind Independence Day and Memorial Day so drivers should anticipate more traffic than usual. Additionally, gas prices are spiking again.

Woodland says the average price is currently $3.22 a gallon for regular unleaded – which is the highest they’ve seen on Labor Day weekend since 2014. To put into perspective how quickly prices have increased, she tells WHMI the cost is already up 9-cents since Monday.

Woodland noted that there are two factors leading to higher gas prices as we head into the holiday weekend – Hurricane Ida hitting the gulf coast and affecting refineries and some production there as well as crude oil prices spiking above $70 a barrel again this week.

Woodland says they typically tend to see pump prices decline after the Labor Day weekend as demand for gasoline drops as the summer travel season ends and kids go back to school. She says refineries also make the switch from the summer-blend to winter-blend gasoline, which helps ease prices at the pump, but added the last two years have definitely not been typical due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile as drivers set out on the last road trip of the summer, Woodland says AAA is urging motorists to buckle-up and avoid speeding, distractions and impaired driving.