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Less travel expected over holiday

POSTED: November 26, 2013 11:43 p.m.

There might be a lot of leftover turkey this year. Some of the relatives may not make it for Thanksgiving.

AAA projects fewer people will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, both in Georgia and across the nation, and that was before a storm roared out of the West. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as today to Sunday.

The decline is projected to be 0.6 percent in Georgia, still leaving 1.24 million people on the go during the holiday weekend. The national decline is expected to be 1.5 percent, with 43.4 million people traveling, down from 44 million last year.

Georgia’s roads can expect to see 1.12 million travelers, down 0.8 percent from last year, mirroring the 1.6 percent decline nationally to 38.9 million.

For those who are traveling by road, the state Department of Transportation is suspending construction-related lane closures from 5 a.m. today to 10 p.m. Sunday. Some work may continue on lesser-traveled roads, and emergency-related lane closures may become necessary on any route, the department said in a news release.

If you’re traveling for the holiday or the Black Friday sales, expect to pay a little more for gas.

The average price for unleaded regular gasoline in Georgia is $3.27 a gallon, said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for website GasBuddy.com. That’s an 8-cent increase from last week, he said. The national average is also $3.27, up 6 cents from the previous week.

“Georgia has seen a little more of an increase,” Laskoski said, “and that has a lot to do with four refineries in the gulf area that had production issues.

“That reduced production, and there was a significant increase in exports,” he said.

“Georgia was in a much better position than Florida because, especially in the Atlanta area, it could get gas from a pipeline, whereas in Florida (gasoline) all has to come in by ship.”

Laskoski said he was optimistic that gas prices would decline again after the holiday.

“A lot of travelers may think that the increase in gas prices was because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but that’s not the case. It was the production problems at the refineries” that caused the increase, he said.

“The weather forecast for this weekend is pretty nasty, and that could discourage some travel and ease consumer demand,” Laskoski said. “We’re expecting some moderation in prices.

“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we might see prices fall another 10 to 15 cents a gallon,” he said.

Air travelers in Georgia are expected to decline 3 percent to 85,172, compared to 3.7 percent decrease to 3.14 million nationally.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that high winds and rain in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states could have a ripple effect on airports with departing and originating flights elsewhere in the U.S.

Those using other means of transportation — bus or train — are expected to soar to 29,304, up 18.5 percent from last year, almost doubling the nationally projected increase of 9.5 percent to 1.39 million.


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