NEW JERSEY -- AAA Travel forecasts 48.7 million Americans, including nearly 1.25 million in New Jersey, will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s one million more travelers than last year, representing a 1.9 percent increase over 2015, and the most Thanksgiving holiday travelers since 2007, when 50 million people traveled.

This year’s increase in Thanksgiving travel is spurred by improvements in the economy during the second half of the year, including rising wages, increased consumer spending and overall strength in consumer confidence. Despite recent incremental increases in the national average price of gasoline, AAA estimates that U.S. drivers have saved more than $28 billion so far at the pumps this year, compared to the same period last year.

“One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with family and friends this Thanksgiving,” said Cathleen Lewis, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for AAA Northeast. “While will most will travel on the tried-and-true holiday road trip, others will fly, take the bus or set off on a cruise to celebrate with their loved ones.”

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TRAVEL BY THE NUMBERS
Automobile
Driving remains the most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving, both in New Jersey and nationally:

  • New Jersey – 1,112,637 (89.3% of all travelers), a 4.3% increase from 2015.
  • Nationally – 43.5 million (89.4% of all travelers), a 1.9% increase from last Thanksgiving.

Air

  • New Jersey – 102,945 (8.3% of all travelers), a 3.2% increase from last year.
  • Nationally – 3.69 million (7.6% of all travelers), a 1.6% increase from one year ago.

Train, Bus, Watercraft or Other Mode

  • New Jersey – 30,653 (2.4% of all travelers), a 0.3% decrease from last year.
  • Nationally – 1.44 million (3% of all travelers), a 0.8% increase from 2015.

Thanksgiving gas prices second-cheapest in nearly a decade
Today’s national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.15, 10 cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.05). Most U.S. drivers will pay the second-cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008 (when the average was $1.85). In New Jersey, where the gas tax was increased by 23 cents on November 1, the current price at the pump (as of November 18) is $2.23, 25 cents more than 2015. This is the cheapest Thanksgiving gas since 2006, when the average was $2.09.