PORTLAND — High gas prices are expected to discourage travel this Memorial Day weekend along the Maine Turnpike, according to the Maine Turnpike Authority.

The Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine is projecting that overall traffic passing through the York Toll plaza during the four day weekend will reach 292,000 vehicles – a reduction of about six percent from 2010 levels.

But, Scott Tompkins, a spokesman for the Maine Turnpike Authority, noted that gas prices have dropped by more than 10 cents a gallon in the last week. Tompkins said the drop in gas prices represents an encouraging trend for the rest of the summer.

The Center said that average prices for regular gas in New England are more than 12 cents per gallon higher than the 2008 Memorial Day weekend. The result is the highest gas prices for Memorial Day in the past decade.