FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Americans will fly the coop in record numbers this Thanksgiving, says AAA Southern New England, thanks to the lowest fuel prices in nearly four years in Fairfield County and across the country.
This year, 46.3 million Americans – 4.2 percent more than last year -- are expected to hit the road or fly the skies, making the weekend of Nov. 26 to 30 one of the busiest travel periods of the year, according to the association’s annual holiday survey.
Of the overall number, more than 89 percent or 41.3 million plan to travel more than 50 miles by motor vehicle, a figure 4.3 percent higher than last year. Air travel is also expected to be at its highest level since 2007 with 3.55 million Americans taking to the skies.
Nationwide, motorists have been enjoying fuel prices the lowest they have been in four years. On Nov. 20, the national average price for a gallon of regular was $2.85, 43 cents lower than the average price for Thanksgiving a year ago when it was $3.28. This is the first time since November, 2010 the national average has fallen below the $3 mark.
Average Connecticut prices have also been a welcome relief for road trippers here where the statewide price of $3.17 on Nov. 20 is 43 cents lower than this time last year. The last time the average price was this low was in December 2010.
In other survey highlights:
- Travelers will encounter moderately higher prices with airfares 1 percent higher, mid-range hotels up 8 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. However, travelers from New England tend to stay a little closer to home than some other parts of the country so this region expects to see a 3.9 percent increase in overall travel compared to 2013.
- Despite lower gas prices, travelers will allocate 31 percent of their budget to fuel while food and beverage will account for 22 percent and shopping to 20 percent.
- 89 percent will spend time with family and friends.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.
AAA Southern New England is a not-for-profit auto club with 51 offices in Rhode Island,Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.
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