AAA projects more than 93 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the year-end holiday period. That's an increase of about 1.6 percent compared to the same holiday travel period last year. Our Brad Vivacqua has more on AAA’s travel predictions.
UNITED STATES -- This marks the fourth consecutive year that AAA is projecting an increase for the end of the year travel period. The holiday travel period begins this Saturday, December 22nd and runs through Tuesday, January 1st.
Right away people ask the question if gas prices have any effect on that travel forecast. Here in the Syracuse area, we're paying $3.63 per gallon this morning according to AAA. That price is up about twenty cents to the same time last year.
Still, you can see across the country we're paying an average of $3.24 per gallon. That's right around what we we're paying last year when gas on a national scale was $3.23.
However, AAA does not expect gas prices to have a major impact on travel volume for the holiday travel period this year. Officials say gas prices typically impact summer driving plans more as many people will travel to see their family members during the holidays regardless of prices.
Still, we've noticed prices on a national and local level drop substantially over the past month. Gas prices, combined with other factors, led to a slight projected increase of about one percent compared to last year.
"Americans really are still prioritizing travel and placing a greater emphasis on visiting family and friends for the holidays as far as the numbers being up. And, compared to last year, people feel a little better about the economy and consumer sentiment has improved," said Diana Dibble, CNY AAA Public Affairs Specialist.
Out of the projected 93.3 million Americans who will travel this holiday season, it's estimated that 90 percent will travel by automobile.
If you're planning to travel over the holidays, AAA reminds you to do a maintenance check of your vehicle and be sure to have all your fluids filled, good tires, and good brakes.