Oklahoma holiday travelers expected to break last year’s records, AAA says

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Holiday travel is about to hit an all-time high in Oklahoma and around the U.S.

AAA predicts 98.6 million Americans, including 893,000 Oklahomans, will journey 50 miles or more from home.

The auto club expects 3.6 %  more Oklahomans, which is roughly 893,000 people, will travel over the year-end holidays this year than last year.

Of that number, 838,000 will get there by motor vehicle, which is a 3.7% increase; 48,150 by air, up 1.8 percent; and 6,850 by other means, including bus, train, multi-modal and boat, which is a boost of 2.2 percent over the 2013 holidays.

Low gas prices continue to help boost disposable income this holiday season, according to the auto club.

Today’s Oklahoma average price for regular gasoline is $2.27 per gallon, 65 cents less than a year ago and down $1.26 from the state’s 2014 high of $3.53 recorded on June 26.

The strong travel numbers mark the highest forecast growth rate for year-end holidays since 2009 and the highest travel volume on record for the holiday period, AAA reports.

“The U.S. economy is improving, although erratically, and it seems more of us are looking forward with increasing consumer confidence, rather than looking back at the recession,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Add in today’s extraordinarily low gasoline prices, and AAA believes travel volumes will reach levels never seen before.”

“Another reason more of us are deciding to travel this year is the calendar,” said Mai. “Christmas and New Year’s Day land on Thursdays this year, creating a holiday travel season that is one day longer than last year’s and offering more options for departures and return trips. This flexibility makes it possible for more people to fit holiday travel into their schedules.”

 Based on past years’ data, AAA is ready to come to the rescue of more than 1.1 million motorists nationwide, including 7,900 in Oklahoma, during what AAA defines as the holiday period, Tuesday, Dec. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 4.

The top reasons for these calls to AAA Oklahoma are expected to be for a tow, because of a dead battery and to service members who have locked their keys in their vehicle.

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