AAA Forecasts Holiday Driving Numbers
December 21, 2012

by Casey Neeley,

The American Automobile Association (AAA) has released a report forecasting increased year-end holiday travel.

With a total number of travelers projected at 93.3 million, up 1.6 percent from last year's 91.8 million, 90 percent of people are expected to travel via automobile. The number of automobile travelers is expected to spike 1.3 percent to 84.4 million from 2011's 83.3 million.

Air travel, which AAA says will account for 6 percent of all travel this year, is projected to reach 5.6 million travelers, up 4.5 percent from last year's 5.4 million. Other modes of travel, such as buses and trains, will account for 3.5 percent of travel, or 3.3 million travelers, up 5.4 percent from 3.1 million in 2011.

"The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation," says AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet in a statement. "Primary economic indicators all show modest improvement from last year and AAA is projecting an increase in the number of Americans stuffing their stockings with airline tickets and hotel reservations."

"As we enter the New Year, one unknown for travel is the looming 'fiscal cliff' and the resulting uncertainty related to near-term tax and benefit changes. Having these items unresolved complicates many travelers' ability to develop an accurate household budget as they plan for future spending and saving decisions. It is important that Congress and the President work together to quickly resolve the situation for the good of the nation," says Darbelnet.

AAA bases its forecast on economic and consumer reports. Holiday travel figures are projected for Saturday, December 22, 2012 through Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

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