AAA: 3 percent increase expected in holiday travel

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Dec. 15, 2010—AAA projects 92.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the year-end holidays, an increase of 3.1 percent from a year ago, according to a AAA press release_notes.

During the 2009 year-end holidays 89.5 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles from home, according to a AAA press release. More than nine out of 10 will drive to their destination, a 3.2 percent increase from 2009. The average distance traveled is also expected to increase from 791 miles to 1,052 miles.

With the increase in driving during the holidays, AAA also reminds drivers how best to save on gas:
• Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check tire pressure once a month, and use the suggested tire pressure designated by the manufacturer in the owner’s manual;
• Be gentle on the gas and brake pedals. Making quick starts or sudden stops causes a car’s fuel economy to decrease as much as 33 percent;
• Drive the speed limit. Driving just 5 mph over 60 mph is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon;
• Plan errands in advance. Combine as many tasks to be accomplished on one outing as possible;
• Keep luggage off the roof. A loaded roof decreases a car’s fuel economy.

"It's great to see so many Americans taking to the roads, rails and skies this holiday season, especially since this is the fifth consecutive holiday period this year in which AAA has predicted a year-to-year increase in the number of travelers," said Glen MacDonell, director of AAA travel services. "After a challenging year in 2009, a modestly improved economic environment and pent-up demand resulted in more Americans traveling in 2010, and the year-end holidays are no exception."

The year-end holidays travel period is Thursday, Dec. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 2. For more information, go to aaa.com.

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