2015 AAA Thanksgiving Travel Forecasts 6 Percent Increase for Holiday
Gas prices in St. Louis have dropped dramatically over the past few weeks, as shown above at the BP station just south of downtown.
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), November 17, 2015 - Gas prices remain well below 2014 levels, providing an early holiday bonus to the more than 89 percent of holiday travelers who will drive to their destinations.
AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 0.6 percent increase over the 46.6 million people who traveled last year and the most since 2007.
With 300,000 additional holiday travelers, this marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.
"This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007," said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. "While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones."
"One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway," continued Doney.
Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving
Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving, an increase of 0.7 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.1 percent, with 3.6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease 1.4 percent this Thanksgiving, to 1.4 million travelers.
Lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in seven years expected
Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $265 million on gasoline every day compared to a year ago. This has helped boost disposable income, enabling many Americans to travel this Thanksgiving. Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Today's national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.15, 65 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.80).
Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly
According to AAA's Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to decrease 10 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $169 roundtrip across the top 40 domestic flight routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $118. Daily car rental rates will average $60, eight percent higher than last Thanksgiving.
$1.2 Million to Help Communities Statewide Plan for, Respond to Disasters
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, (SLFP.com), November 17, 2015 - The Missouri Association of Councils of Government has been awarded $1.2 million to fund three projects that will help Missouri communities respond to disasters.
The funding through the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program will strengthen regional coordination and response asset sharing, identify key infrastructure and resources to mitigate disasters before they strike, and bolster long-term recovery planning.
In a release, Governor Jay Nixon said, "One of the most important functions of government is planning for and responding to natural disasters, thereby making sure people have the support they need to rebuild and move forward. Missouri's system of coordinating local, state, faith-based, volunteer and private sector disaster response and recovery efforts has served as a model for the nation. This grant funding will further strengthen our ability to respond quickly, efficiently and in a coordinated manner.
The funding includes:
- $935,000 to assist Missouri's 19 regional planning commissions assess critical infrastructure and key resources, and design mitigation plans to strengthen vital infrastructure. The grant will bolster coordination among local governments, businesses and nonprofits;
- $191,000 to strengthen disaster response coordination and efficiency by creating a comprehensive statewide asset inventory of deployable resources. This will expand the ability of communities to share key assets not only across regions, but across the state if necessary.
- $50,000 to develop long-term disaster recovery systems in local communities, including enabling local leaders to plan for rebuilding, business retention and public works projects following a disaster.