AAA: Record 1.62 Million Tar Heels To Hit Roads Over Holidays

Higher gas prices aren't keeping families at home. Another 321,000 plan to travel by air.

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CHARLOTTE — Gas prices that are 9 cents higher than this time a year ago aren’t going to keep Tar Heel state residents off the roads for the holidays.

In fact AAA Carolinas is predicting a record 1.62 million North Carolinians are going to travel 50 or miles from home over the holidays. That’s a 3.7 percent increase over one year ago. The record prediction also marks the fourth consecutive year of growth.

Gas prices are up 9 cents from 2005 to an average of $2.27 for unleaded, self-serve gasoline across the state.

The reports an average price of $2.28 in Raleigh (up 9 cents), $2.29 in Durham (up 9 cents), $2.25 in Fayetteville (up 7 cents), and $2.26 in Rocky Mount (up 7 cents).

South Carolinians are getting a break on gas with an average price of $2.15, up 5 cents from 2005.

Nationwide, gas prices are up 12 cents to an average of $2.30.

An estimated 796,000 South Carolinians plan to travel 50 miles or more from home, the AAA found in its annual pre-holiday survey.

But highway construction should not be a hindrance.

”Motorists in both states can expect lanes on major roadways to remain open during the holiday weekend with construction halted,” the AAA said of the Carolinas.

Another 321,000 Tar Heels plan to travel by air to holiday destinations.

Air fares average $165, the same as last year, the AAA reported. Rental car rates, meanwhile, are down 3 percent from 2005, but hotel rates are 4 percent higher at AAA-rated Three Diamond hotels from a year ago.

The AAA report is based on a national telephone survey of 2,000 adults by the Travel Industry Association of America.

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