While the summer weather might not have been all we would have wished for and the state's economy still was sluggish at best, it didn't apparently stop motorists from traveling.
At least that seems like a logical conclusion when reviewing traffic statistics over the Mackinac Bridge. While August numbers are not yet known, July numbers show traffic was up 6.7 percent from that of last year.
This year 548,267 vehicles crossed the bridge in July compared to 504,818 last July.
July's numbers marked the fourth month in a row bridge crossings this year were greater than last.
We imagine one big reason traffic is up is because gas prices are considerably lower than what they were last summer. AAA of Michigan said state motorists this Labor Day weekend will spend on average $2.59 a gallon for unleaded, which is $1.23 lower than what we paid last year.
We have learned over the years the traffic report for the Mackinac Bridge is a good barometer of the tourism season Up North. With strong bridge numbers all summer long, we suspect local tourism officials will confirm our belief this has been a better season than last.
Still, we won't venture too far down that road, as "better" is a relative term for tourism operations we're sure.
Apparently having a little change in the wallet after filling up this summer was enough to make motorists want to hit the road. It is welcome news for our local economy.