AAA: Lower gas prices may fuel holiday travel
Prices expected to continue to drop for remainder of year
TAMPA, Fla. – AAA Travel projects 46.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007 and a 4.2 percent increase over 2013.
Almost 90 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will celebrate the holiday with a road trip and will enjoy the lowest gas prices in nearly four years. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 26 through Sunday, November 30.
"During the Thanksgiving holiday period, roads and airports will be packed as more Americans will travel than any year since 2007," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA, The Auto Club Group. "The rise in travelers comes as Americans grow more optimistic about the future. Falling gas prices and improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel."
Highlights from AAA's 2014 Thanksgiving travel forecast:
- Thanksgiving holiday travel volume is expected to reach the highest level since 2007, with 46.3 million Americans taking a trip.
- The 2014 forecast is 4.2 percent higher than the 44.4 million Americans who traveled last year and the greatest growth rate for any holiday since Independence Day 2012.
- Road trippers will pay the lowest price for fuel in nearly four years. Today's national average price of gas is XX per gallon, which is XX cents lower than the average price for Thanksgiving a year ago ($3.28 per gallon).
- More than 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile, a 4.3 percent increase from 39.6 million last year.
- Air travel for Thanksgiving is expected to be at the highest level since 2007, with 3.55 million Americans taking to the skies.
- Travelers will encounter moderately higher prices with airfares one percent higher, mid-range hotels up eight percent and car rentals costing 10 percent more.
- The average distance traveled this Thanksgiving will be 549 miles roundtrip and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.
- The most popular activities are visiting with friends and relatives, dining, shopping, and watching sporting events.
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