Some 48 million Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving holiday -- from Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27 –- and will likely see lower gas prices at the pumps, according to the American Automobile Association.
The AAA says the additional million holiday travelers represent a 1.9 percent increase in Thanksgiving travel volume over last year, approaching levels not seen since 2007 for an eighth consecutive year of growth.
Here in the Gem State, AAA Idaho projects 255,000 Idahoans will travel fifty miles or more from home this holiday season, with 227,000 traveling by motor vehicle. In the Mountain region (which includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming), travel volume is expected to near 3.5 million during this period.
“In Idaho, falling pump prices are in a race against time,” said AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “Distribution issues have delayed seasonal savings, but we are still optimistic that cheaper fuel prices will arrive in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.”
AAA estimates that drivers nationwide have saved more than $28 billion this year compared to the same time period last year.
Idaho’s current average price for regular gasoline is $2.44. A year ago, Idahoans paid $2.24. The U.S. average price is $2.16, compared to $2.17 a year ago.
“Consumer confidence has surged toward the end of the year, overshadowing 2016’s weak economic start. Driven by rising wages and a falling unemployment rate, many consumers are willing to supplement their discretionary income with borrowed money -– a clear indicator of their positive future outlook,” Conde said.
AAA says roughly 43.5 million Americans will travel by car to their holiday destinations, accounting for more than 89 percent of holiday travel. The 2016 volume is 12.5 percent above the average over the past fifteen years. Experts also say that nearly 3.7 million travelers will fly to their chosen destinations, an increase of 1.6 percent for a fifth consecutive year of volume growth.