Three point three million drivers in Texas are expected to hit the highways for the busiest travel holiday of the year. According to AAA Texas, that's about 48,000 more drivers than were on the roads last year during Thanksgiving weekend. A change the group says is thanks to the economy.
"When your economic circumstances are better off you feel generally good about where you are as a household and your job circumstances into the future," added Amarillo Happy State Bank Economist, Karr Ingham. "That certainly gives you more confidence about traveling, about spending holiday money and that sort of thing."
Combine that confidence with optimism at the pump, and you've got a recipe for road travel.
"I started to hear about the gas prices falling before the travel and I thought I hope it keeps up," said Thanksgiving traveler Nora Lozoya. "Because I really want to travel this time."
The average price of gas in Amarillo was only about five cents cheaper this time last year, but just last month, the average price was about $3.48.
"Gas prices are a short term relative thing," added Ingham. "If they're better now than they were a month ago, two months ago, three months ago, that has an impact on travel," he said. "They have more disposable income because they're not spending it on fuel."
"We ate out a lot," she said. "We did some shopping."
All good news to our still recovering economy.
"There's no doubt about the fact that more dollars are spent in December than any other month of the year so it's important, it's important to business," said Ingham.
According to AAA, the average price of regular gas in Amarillo on Wednesday was about $3.25. The national average is $3.42.