FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – As more businesses reopen across South Florida, more people are getting behind the wheel.

“There’s way more traffic out here, way more it’s ridiculous,” said driver Dion Waller.

Waller said he notices the busier traffic every time he gets in the car.

“I’m so used to the pandemic when everybody was at home, but everything’s opened back up, it’s just congested down there, just regular everyday traffic now,” he said.

With more people driving, that means more people are buying gas. Demand is up 40 percent in the past five weeks and that translates into higher prices at the pump. AAA is keeping tabs.

“Just in the past few days we’ve seen gas prices jump about 10 cents, that’s with people returning to the road at a higher volume. I would expect gas prices to continue inching higher as well,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.

In addition to the roads, airports are also getting better.

“Across the industry, you saw a 95 percent drop off in passenger traffic, that’s been the case all of March and April and then recently we’ve seen an increase in passengers, we’ve seen four to five thousand more passengers a day,” said Miami International Airport spokesman Greg Chin.

At Miami International Airport, more than 65-thousand travelers passed through it in the last seven days – that’s an average of 9,300 people a day. Compare that to the same dates last month when just over 32-thousand passengers traveled through the airport, an average of 4,600 a day.

“We’re seeing passengers feeling more comfortable with traveling, feeling safer with wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting out and starting to get back to normal a bit,” said Chin.

Peyton Wright is one of those who is ready to travel. She’s been in the Keys since January and is now ready to board a flight.

“They’re opening up the Keys on June 1st and other places are starting to open up now too, so I think that made me feel more comfortable to start traveling now,” said Wright.

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is just about here and it’s normally a busy travel weekend. However, AAA said this year is expected to be the lowest that they’ve ever recorded.

Ted Scouten

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