Friday, November 22, 2013

AAA: Travel will be down slightly

Idaho predicted to fare better than rest of U.S.

   Some 43.4 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday period, down slightly from a year ago but above the twelve-year average, AAA Idaho said this week.
    AAA expects a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 44 million holiday travelers a year ago, but says this year’s travel volumes will remain well above 2008 and 2009 levels when the recession resulted in a 25 percent drop in travel.
    “While there’s some uncertainty in the economy and a more sluggish pace of recovery, millions of Americans will make a way to feast with family and friends,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson. “Carving out a travel budget will be easier because Thanksgiving will be the least expensive holiday of the year.”   
    An analysis by IHS Global Insight prepared for AAA shows this year’s overall travel volumes will be affected by the economic headwinds associated with the government shutdown, slower economic growth and reduced consumer spending.  
    On the other hand, AAA said most drivers will pay the cheapest gas prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2010. Drivers can find stations selling gas from less than $3 per gallon in a majority of states. Less expensive gas may offset other economic impacts, AAA said.
    Closer to home, Idaho is expected to fare better, with a smaller decline of 0.8 percent, compared to the 1.5 percent decrease for the U.S. In addition, 14.1 percent of all Idahoans are expected to travel during the holiday period, defined as Wednesday, Nov. 27, to Sunday, Dec. 1.
    Based on AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, Idaho’s average price gas price Nov. 21 was $3.28, within 7 cents of the U.S. average price of $3.21.
    Gas prices are expected to drop in the weeks ahead, barring unforeseen changes in the supply of crude oil or in finished gasoline products, AAA predicts.

Auto travel remains dominant travel mode

    Approximately 90 percent of travelers, or 38.9 million people, plan to travel by automobile this Thanksgiving, a 1.6 percent decrease from the 39.5 million who traveled last year. Air travel is expected to decrease 3.7 percent, as 3.14 million holiday travelers will take to the skies. Approximately 1.4 million travelers will choose other modes of transportation, including rail, bus and cruise ship.
    AAA Idaho expects 195,000 Idahoans will be passengers or drivers in motor vehicles traveling at least 50 miles from home.

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