Christmas and New Year's travel to be the highest in years

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM

It's no surprise that more people take road trips during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. More than 93 million people are expected to hit the road to spend time with loved ones to go on a winter vacation, and with 90 percent of those travelers driving to their destinations, according to AAA, most people can expect traffic jams and crowded roads during the end of December as one-fourth of the U.S. population crams into the streets.

While the estimated number of people driving during the holidays is 1.6 percent higher than in 2011, it is still about 400,000 people short of the high from 2006. The 2006-2007 holiday season was the largest total on record from the past decade.

Travelers who get caught in traffic may end up cursing their luck, but the sight of sinking gas prices can lift their spirits. The average price of a gallon of gas is close to what is was in December 2011, The Associated Press reports, and has dropped almost 50 cents since September. These lower prices, combined with affordable car tune ups and the higher cost of airfare, may have contributed to more citizens taking road trips. 

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