Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Up Despite Higher Gas Prices
More North Carolinians are expected to travel this Thanksgiving weekend, despite a 63 cents a gallon average increase in gas prices compared with a year ago.
AAA Carolinas is predicting 1,167,000 people will travel more than 50 miles from home, an increase of 27,000 (2.3 percent) compared with last year. While automobile travel will increase by 29,000 (3.1 percent) motorists, air travel will decline by 5,000 (6.6 percent) fliers and other travel (bus, and train will increase by 3,000 (2.8 percent).
"Thanksgiving is a family holiday, and after a year of economic turmoil, people want to get away," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "Gas prices have been creeping upward again, but it isn't enough to deter most people's vacation plans."
This is the third straight year air travel has decreased. This year, there are new fees for baggage and other previously free services, plus peak fare surcharges for Thanksgiving travel, a continuing cutback in the number of flights, smaller capacity planes and deteriorating on-time arrival (one of every five flights nationally is delayed an average of 48 minutes, according to AAA).
Overall, it is expected slightly just less than one million North Carolinians will drive this holiday, 77,000 will fly and 107,000 will use other transportation (rail or bus), AAA said in a news release.
North Carolinians will average 1,077 miles on their trip and spend an average of $796 for items such as fuel, accommodations, food and beverages, shopping and entertainment.
Ninety-one percent of travelers will travel with one or more family members, with 60 percent visiting family or friends over the holidays.
After increasing in previous weeks, the average price of gasoline statewide has begun declining recently, and the average price is about $2.593 compared with $2.606 a month ago.
The highest average price is in Asheville at $2.635 per gallon of unleaded self-service. The least expensive average price is in Winston-Salem at $2.549.
Traffic delays are expected in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee due to the rock slide that has closed a section of Interstate 40. Motorists will also experience construction-related lane closures in both directions along I-85 near High Point (mile marker 113).
The N.C. Department of Transportation will suspend construction in work zones during the holiday driving period.
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