LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Nearly 51 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the biggest holiday travel weekend since 2005.
The strong economy and labor market have pushed up incomes and consumer confidence, and more thankful Americans are traveling to spend time with friends and family this year, according to the Automobile Club of America.
But drivers who haven’t left yet may be too late to avoid the rush – holiday road travel is expected to peak as early as Tuesday afternoon, according to Inrix, a transportation analytics company.
“Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year we could see record-level travel delays,” transportation analyst Bob Pishue said in a statement. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”
To make matters worse, Inrix also found that the top traffic hot spot in America is right here in Southern California – along the I-5 at Valley View Avenue in La Mirada.
And as travel is increasing, so are gas prices.
A gallon of regular is way up from last Thanksgiving due to supply issues and a new 10 cent-per-gallon gas tax. In 2016, drivers were paying $2.68 per gallon on average. This year, the price averages $3.20.
Thanksgiving travelers’ top five destinations are Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, New York City, Honolulu, and Las Vegas.