Oregon Thanksgiving Travel: Stable Gas Prices, Higher Traffic
|Traveling Oregon: Depoe Bay
(Portland, Oregon) – The AAA is predicting some changes to be thankful for this holiday. The northwest offices of AAA are saying gas prices aren’t likely to increase – just as it’s predicting that Thanksgiving travel will increase 1.4 percent, much of that by car.
"Retail gas prices are holding steady as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the busiest travel weeks of the year,” said AAA Oregon Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. “The national average for regular unleaded gains a penny to $2.64 and Oregon's statewide average remains at $2.76.”
AAA projects 38.4 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more away from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; a 1.4 percent increase over last year. Dodds said most of those travelers - 86 percent - are going by car.
“Gas prices are about 70 cents a gallon more than they were a year ago, but that's not making people rethink their travel plans as Thanksgiving is such a family-oriented holiday, and travelers can usually reduce other travel costs by staying with friends and family," said Dodds.
Crude has remained in the $75 to $82 range for the past month as economic data has been mixed. Some leading indicators suggest strong growth while others, most notably unemployment, paint a more pessimistic picture.
The price of crude has rallied from below $33 last December. The weak dollar continues to be a major factor driving oil prices.
Crude is bought and sold in dollars, and it becomes cheaper to investors using other currencies when the dollar weakens.
The latest report from the Federal Highway Administration shows that there's a slight increase of .3 percent in the number of miles driven by Americans for the first nine months of the year compared to 2008.
AAA says it expects 38.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the 2009 Thanksgiving weekend, up 1.4 percent from a year ago.
Compared to last year's 25 percent decline in Thanksgiving travel, the increase is not significant in real numbers, but AAA says the travel intentions suggest there is an expectation among Americans that the economy is on the mend and better times are closer to reality.
"The increase in travel suggests that even though Americans are very much aware of high unemployment numbers and the stresses on their pocketbooks, they are feeling more optimistic this year," said AAA Idaho spokesman Dave Carlson.
This year's decrease in the number of air travelers continues a decade-long trend in which air travel as a percent of total Thanksgiving travel has declined substantially. Since 2000, the number of Americans traveling by air during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has dropped an astounding 62 percent.
Much of this decrease can be attributed to ongoing economic difficulties, but the air travel experience has undergone a substantial change with stricter security, more frequent flight delays, reduced capacity and added surcharges and fees contributing to the decline.
For a list of restaurants open during Thanksgiving on the Oregon coast.....