More Americans will travel this Thanksgiving holiday
Thanks largely to lower gas prices, traffic on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving ? getaway day ? will be up about 3% higher than a year ago, according to a new analysis by INRIX, a traffic-congestion tracking firm in Kirkland, Wash.
“What we’ve been seeing this spring and summer is congestion levels up about 6% on average, month over month,” says Jim Bak, INRIX’s director of community relations. “Over the last couple of months, we saw things tail off a little bit. So we expect holiday congestion to be up about 3% over last year. If gas prices weren’t as low as they are, things probably would have been flat compared to last year. With the low gas prices, people have more incentive to travel.”
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.20 on Monday, about 21 cents a gallon less than a year ago, according to AAA.
“Certainly prices of fuel are not going to be an inhibition to travel,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com. “I think you are going to see the cheapest Thanksgiving-week prices since 2010.”
As usual, the Wednesday-afternoon rush hour will occur about two hours earlier than usual ? at 3 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. Travelers in most cities can expect traffic to start building around 2 p.m. and begin easing about 6 p.m., with virtually no delays after 7 p.m.
Along the East Coast and in the Midwest, INRIX expects steady traffic on roads throughout the day with the heaviest between 3-6 p.m. On the West Coast, the company anticipates a light morning commute with few delays.
This year, because of an extremely rare calendar phenomenon, Thanksgiving falls during Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights ? an occurrence that last happened in 1888 and isn’t projected to happen again for 79,043 years.
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