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Record number of travelers expected on NC roads for holidays, AAA says

Posted December 16, 2016

I-540 morning traffic congestion (generic)

— More than 3 million North Carolinians are expected to travel at least 50 miles for Christmas or New Year's holidays, according to AAA Carolinas.

Despite rising gas prices, AAA Carolinas expects the 3,010,305 people traveling this year to set a new record, showing a 1 percent increase from last year. The estimate is taken from the 12-day period from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

“Although we have seen an increase in gas prices recently, Carolinians are still traveling in record numbers to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with family and friends,” said Dave Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.

At an average of $2.18 per gallon, gas prices are slightly higher than last year when a gallon averaged $1.98, according to AAA. Prices have been rising since the OPEC oil production agreement was signed last month.

The cheapest gas in the state will be in the Charlotte area, where drivers will pay $2.11 per gallon. The most expensive gas will be pumped in Asheville, where each gallon will cost $2.27 on average.

AAA cautions against drinking an driving as holiday celebrations and parties dot the calendar: As the longest holiday travel period of the year, Christmas is also one of the deadliest. Last year, 13 people died on North Carolina roads during the year-end holiday travel period. Of those 13 fatalities, five were alcohol-related.

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