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AAA: Increased holiday travel

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- The American Automobile Club is predicting more Georgians, along with the rest of the country, will be taking to the road this holiday season.

AAA predicts that more than 2.7 million Georgians will be hitting the road between now and Jan. 2, the second consecutive increase in Christmas-season traffic.

"This is the second year in a row we are seeing consistent increases in national holiday travel numbers," said Brent Hubele, vice president of AAA Travel. "This represents a healthy growth following a relatively strong 4.4 percent increase in 2009 holiday travel, and is a notable milestone in the travel industry's recovery."

The traveling public can also expect to see a healthy increase in gasoline prices.

According to AAA's fuelgaugereport.com, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Georgia is $2.910, an increase of 47 cents over the same period last year and 17 cents a gallon more than just a month ago.

A gallon of mid-range gas is averaging $3.128, premium is $3.267 and diesel is $3.178

"Gasoline prices are actually at a two-year high right now, and this is the first time we are seeing $3 gas at Christmas," AAA's Rick Remington said.

In addition to the increase in travelers, AAA is also predicting a rise in the amount of money spent and distance traveled.

The total amount spent per household is projected to increase 3.6 percent, to $694 this year, from $670 in 2009, AAA said.

Travelers will also be making trips averaging 261 miles farther, according to AAA, from 791 miles in 2009 to 1,052 miles this year. AAA said the increase is significant because this year's travel period is a

day shorter than last year's, 11 days vs. 12.