- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - More than 2 million New Englanders plan to travel this Thanksgiving - up 4 percent from last year - and they’ll be greeted at the pump by the lowest Thanksgiving holiday gas prices since 2007.

AAA’s newly released holiday travel data predicts that more than 46 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday - designated as Wednesday through Sunday. The average travelers will journey more than 500 miles roundtrip.

State-level data is not available, but of the 2 million projected New England travelers, roughly 1.8 million will travel by car. Air travel is also up.

These are the highest projected travel numbers for the holiday since 2007.

New Hampshire’s gas prices are averaging $2.90 per gallon, lower than the average prices in Maine or Vermont. This is the first time since 2010 that national gas prices are lower than $3 per gallon. Although gas prices are lower, travel expenses such as hotels and rental cars are slightly higher than last year.

AAA says the increased travel can be tied to growing consumer confidence over the state of the economy. Gas prices rarely prompt people to travel or stay home, but they affect how families budget between travel, shopping and other leisure activities.

AAA says travelers budget an average of $573 - between travel, shopping and food - for the Thanksgiving period.

“Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel,” AAA’s Northern New England spokesman Pat Moody said in a release.

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