Record travel expected for the upcoming holidays

Posted at 12:13 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 13:16:33-05
According to AAA, more than 103 million Americans will travel for the holiday season.
AAA has put together the estimate for the time period between Friday, December 23 and Monday, January 2. The number represents a 1.5 percent increase from 2015.
In Wisconsin, roughly 2.14 million people will travel during the holidays, which is up 1.7 percent from last year.
AAA estimates 1.96 million of those travelers will drive. Anthony Herron, of Milwaukee, is one of them.
“We usually drive down to Kenosha and spend some time with family and friends,” Herron said. “We try to every year.”
The holiday travel boom comes as the price of gas in Wisconsin is, on average, $2.21/gallon for regular unleaded. In the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas, it’s $2.22/gallon, according to AAA’s gas tracker website.
Last year at this time, the average price of gas was hovering around $1.93/gallon.
Nick Jarmusz, Wisconsin Public Affairs Director for AAA, said that increase won’t deter holiday travelers.
“We’re still looking at the second lowest gas prices for a year-end travel period that we’ve seen in the last decade,” Jarmusz said.
Jarmusz said the increase is likely due to the market reacting to a recent announcement by the OPEC nations that they will be cutting production in 2017. Jarmusz said prices could continue to rise in the new year, although he doesn’t see them nearing $3.00/gallon anytime soon. He said AAA credits improvements in the labor market and rising wages for the expected increase in holiday travelers.
Sandy Nielsen, who was gassing up her vehicle in Franklin on Wednesday morning, said she’s grateful gas prices are still below $2.50/gallon.
“I remember the day when it was $3.98 or $4.00, I think it was about three years ago,” Nielsen said.
Jarmusz said the busiest days on area roads this weekend will likely be Friday and Saturday. But he added traffic volume as a whole will be up until the new year. 

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