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Dip in gas prices provides boost to travelers

MANCHESTER - Holiday travelers are in for some relief this year as gas prices have been going down steadily in recent weeks.

It's estimated by AAA that 93.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this holiday season, including through New Year's Day.

"The year-end holiday season remains the least volatile of all travel holidays as Americans will not let economic conditions or high gas prices dictate if they go home for the holidays or kick off the New Year with a vacation," said Robert Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA in a press release.

The number of Americans traveling for the holidays is up 1.6 percent from 2011, when 91.8 million Americans traveled, according to AAA. This years's 93.3 is still about half a million people shy of the decade-high mark set in the 2006/2007 holiday season. The holiday travel season is defined as running from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1.

Most of the people taking a trip are expected to drive, according to AAA, with 84.4 million going on the road. Air travel is also expected to be up, with 5.6 million going by plane, 4.5 percent more that last year's 5.4 million.

Gas prices remain high as AAA expects them to be between $3.20 and $3.40 per gallon by year's end. Gas prices have been dropping steadily since September, going down about 50 cents through the fall. Gas prices in Manchester this week have gone from $3.40 to under $3.30 per gallon.


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