Will gas tax affect travel in Alabama?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - 2018 was a record-breaking year for the number of miles that drivers traveled across the US. 3.22 trillion miles were driven.

That's enough to go to the moon and back more than 6 million times. That's a lot of miles and travel experts say Alabama felt the increase.

They don't have their 2018 numbers yet, but a representative for the Department of Tourism says the lodging tax was up. They expect an economic impact of $15 billion which is up one billion dollars from 2017.

"Hotels, it also the effect of travelers with restaurants, buying souvenirs, tickets to attractions like U.S. Space and Rocket Center," said Brian Jones, who does public relations for the department.

Travel experts say nationally 90% of travelers are driving to their destinations. That's a trend that is also observed in Alabama. A representative from AAA Alabama says low gas prices have been driving people to hit the road for their vacations.

"We tend to have short memories, but just a few years ago they got up pretty high, over $3 a gallon, but the last two or three years we've been pretty lucky. Our state average is rarely gotten over $2.50 a gallon," said Clay Ingram, Public Relations & Marketing Manager for AAA Alabama.

But the gas tax being implemented in Alabama this summer. Do these same experts think the tax increase will pump the breaks on travel?

"Even if it went into effect tomorrow it really wouldn't affect travel plans for anybody," Ingram said.

They say that's because the tax isn't enough for travelers to factor in the cost.

"For most people, that's going to be $10, $20 in additional costs for a long trip," Ingram said.

And some say it could even steer area travelers to Alabama destinations.

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