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Expect more Thanksgiving travelers this year compared to last

Posted at 12:16 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 12:34:05-05

RICHMOND, Va. — The Thanksgiving rush is underway as thousands of Virginia drivers fill up before hitting the road on Wednesday.

Arthur Turner was one of those drivers who stopped for gas Wednesday morning.

“Traveling is nothing. It’s fun to me. I like seeing the sights to tell you the truth," Turner said. “Stopping to get some air, heading to work before I head to New York to see my mom.”

AAA anticipates 1.4 million Virginians will be traveling for Thanksgiving this year. That is 11% more than last year, but five percent off from what AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Morgan Dean said we saw in 2019.

"I do like to stay out of the traffic on the holidays as much as possible," Dave Kibler said. “Most of my family is local and they’re coming to my house this year.”

Some people may choose to stay closer to home due to higher than normal gas prices. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced the release of oil reserves ahead of holiday travel. However gas prices won’t drop overnight.

“Temporarily I think it might help little bit. I don’t think it’ll help a lot and I don’t think it’ll last very long," Kibler said.

“It’s tough traveling but I always put money aside to travel with money go somewhere. Make sure the gas is right and everything," Tuner added.

The national gas price average as of Tuesday is $3.403, according to AAA, which is higher than last year's average.

It is unclear how much the White House effort would immediately affect prices.

AAA recommended families leave for their holiday destinations early Wednesday morning and to leave early Sunday morning to beat the heaviest of the holiday traffic.