AAA: Travel season to see record number of travelers

Published 9:32am Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house may not be done by a horse-drawn sleigh any more, but the required trip to see friends and family over the Christmas holidays remains at the top of most to-do lists.

According to a report issued by AAA Alabama this week, 93.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles over the holiday travel period — an increase of 1.6 percent from last year. Of those traveling, a staggering 90 percent will make their trip using the nation’s highways.

According to AAA, the year-end holiday travel period begins Saturday, Dec. 22 and ends midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 1.

While gas prices are close to the point they were last holiday travel season, AAA does not expect the price of gas to impact the number of those traveling this season.

“The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation,” AAA Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram said. “Primary economic indicators all show modest improvement from last year and AAA is projecting an increase in the number of Americans stuffing their stockings with airline tickets and hotel reservations.”

AAA estimates the national average price of gasoline will slowly drop through the end of the year and average between $3.20-3.40 a gallon by New Year’s Day.

Gas prices dropped about 50 cents a gallon on average from September through early December, but remain at record highs for this time of year.

The average price of regular unleaded in Alabama is currently $3.10 per gallon, which is exactly the same price as this time last year, and ten cents per gallon less than it was just one month ago.

As of Wednesday, the average price of regular unleaded in the Selma area is $3.175 per gallon, more than seven cents higher than the state average.

According to the survey of intended travelers, the average distance traveled by Americans during holiday period is expected to be 760 miles, further than last year when travelers planned to log 726 miles.

For more information from AAA Alabama and to use the agency’s Fuel Finder, log on to www.aaa.com.

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