Many Iowans have a four-day weekend coming up with plans to pack up the car and take a road trip to visit far-away family for a Thanksgiving feast. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says the single busiest day to be on the road is next Wednesday, as it’ll be one of the most crowded days of the year on our highways and interstates.
“That’s the most heavily traveled day of the Thanksgiving holiday,” Weinholzer says. “We’ll have at least 43.4-million Americans traveling at least 50 miles or more and the majority of those folks, 39-million, will be traveling by personal automobile.”
The predicted number of travelers is down by about 600,000 from last Thanksgiving, according to the motor club’s survey, and that’s following a year-long trend. “Memorial Day was down 1%, 4th of July was down 1%, Thanksgiving is down 1.5%,” Weinholzer says. “The exception was Labor Day as the only holiday that was actually up and that was up about 4.2%.”
While gasoline prices are relatively low in Iowa compared to the rest of the nation, she says the travel forecast is still down, slightly. “People are just a little concerned about the sluggish economy, it’s not recovering as quickly or as well as they’d hoped,” Weinholzer says. “They’re just backing off a bit of some of their holiday travel plans.”
Triple-A says gas prices in Iowa are averaging $3.07 a gallon, well below the national average of $3.22. Both averages are the cheapest of the year and they’re expected to continue falling for the next several weeks. Davenport has Iowa’s cheapest gas, averaging $2.92 a gallon.