Share
November 17, 2016 12:00 PM, EST

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Expected to Be Busiest Since 2007

MoDot/Flickr

This Thanksgiving will be the busiest for nationwide travel since 2007, with 48.7 million Americans expected to travel at least 50 miles this year, according to auto club AAA.

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period starts Nov. 23. About 43.5 million people, or 89% of all travelers, are expected to travel by car, according to AAA.

The number of travelers is expected to increase by 1 million people compared with last year, AAA said Nov. 15.

RELATED: As unemployment drops, transportation companies struggle for seasonal workers

"This is the most traveled holiday of the year, and as usual, there is an emphasis on road trips," Joseph Richardson Jr., president and CEO of AAA, said in a news release.

This year's projected number of drivers is an increase of 1.9% over last year. AAA said inexpensive prices at the pump, the second-lowest in a decade for the holiday travel period, could be why more people are choosing to drive.

Nationally, a gallon of gas is averaging $2.17, 12 cents more than the average price on Thanksgiving Day last year, according to AAA.

"Gas prices are now on a similar course as last year, due in large part to lower oil prices," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.

Oil prices will determine if that happens again this year, Jenkins said.

Air travel and other modes of transportation such as rail and buses, also are expected to see an increase.

Nearly 3.7 million Americans will fly to their destination, AAA said, an increase of 1.6%. About 1.44 million travelers will opt for taking trains, buses or hopping on a cruise for Thanksgiving, only a slight increase over the 2015 holiday.

The busiest travel days will be the Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday after.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC