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More Motorists Expected On U.S. Roads This Holiday

November 21, 2012

By Dennis Magee

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Nov. 21 -- Favorable weather conditions and a four-year trend toward increasing travel for the holiday could put more people on the road this week.

According to AAA, more than 43.6 million Americans will cover at least 50 miles as they celebrate Thanksgiving. The number of people on the move represents a .7 percent increase compared to 2011.

The motor club defines Wednesday through Sunday as the holiday travel period.

Of those traveling, 90 percent will do so in a car. The figure represents 39.1 million people and an increase of .6 percent, according to AAA. Air travel will decline slightly, however. AAA expects 3.14 million will take off, down from 3.2 million in 2011.

Weather and gas prices will help those saddling up and hitting the highway.

"A very warm weather pattern will remain in place through Thanksgiving day," according to the National Weather Service. "Highs will be above normal with Wednesday being the warmest day of the week."

As far as getting the car going, filling up the tank will be slightly less painful.

"Despite the historically high prices paid by motorists this year, the national average has declined by nearly 40 cents a gallon since early October and should continue to drop through the end of the year," according to AAA. "The national average price of gas for Thanksgiving from 2007-11 is $2.75 a gallon."

The motor club estimates the national average will be $3.35 to $3.40 per gallon. If so, the price would be close to those in 2011 when the average was $3.32. Historically, though, that was the most expensive average ever on Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

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(c)2012 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Waterloo, Iowa

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Story image: Traffic is bumper to bumper south-bound on I-395 headed out of Washington before the Thanksgiving holiday, in Alexandria, Va. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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