Sinking gas prices expected to turn up Thanksgiving travel

The lowest gasoline price in eight years is likely to mean Thanksgiving travelers can expect more congested highways this year.

During the long holiday weekend, 46.9 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, the highest number since 2007. That's according to travel agency and car lobbying group AAA. That would be a 0.6 percent increase over last year and the seventh straight year of growth.

The figure is still 7.3 percent short of the 50.6 million high point reached in 2007, just before the recession.

Like every other major holiday, the overwhelming majority of travelers—almost 90 percent –will be driving. And they will be paying much less at the pump this year.

According to, the average retail price for gasoline is now $2.06 per gallon nationally—75 cents cheaper than the same time last year. National prices haven’t been this low during the holiday since 2008, when they averaged $1.89 per gallon.

In Indiana, gas prices are even lower. GasBuddy said the statewide average for regular unleaded gas was $1.80 per gallon Monday morning, the lowest price this year. That’s down nearly 21 cents from last week’s average price and 97 cents from last year’s average.

Marion County gas stations are offering some of the cheapest gas in the state, at an average of $1.75, with surrounding counties in the same ballpark.

Airlines for America, the lobbying group for several major airlines, forecasts 25.3 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines, up 3 percent from last year. Airfare is basically flat compared to last year, with a mere 0.3 percent or 69 cent average increase, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp., which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies.

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