More Travelers Hitting the Road for Thanksgiving Despite Higher Gas Prices

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SACRAMENTO -- It's not your imagination, the roads are crowded. There will be 5.3 million Californian motorists on the road this Thanksgiving weekend. Nationwide, it's the most travelers since 2005 for the four-day period beginning today. This is despite the fact that gasoline prices nationwide are 37 cents a gallon more than last year.

“That’s insane, they need holiday discounts," said driver Jane Rueda.

So why will so many people be on the road?

“I think the travelers just want to see their families that they haven’t seen in a while, so they have no choice but to pay the expensive price of gas," Rueda said.

But others say gas at $2.79 a gallon at one Arco station is a bargain considering that the 12 cent per gallon road repair tax was added this month. Dealers say oil companies ate most of the increase, benefiting customers.

“I’m pretty surprised, I don’t expect it to be this low, but that’s why everyone comes here, it’s usually busy, so you’re taking advantage of it. I definitely am," said driver Barron Halverson.

One reason more people are traveling is consumer confidence.

“As long as you feel good, you don’t really care about the price tag," said driver Devon Fleck.

Low unemployment, higher wages and the feeling that the economy is healthy means people will spend to travel. Fleck says increasing the minimum wage helped him out a lot this year.

“With the pay increase for minimum wage, I honestly believe people are going to see families for the first time in a couple of years, to be honest, I mean, I am," Fleck said.

No matter the reason, there will be a predicted 3.2 percent jump in the number of motorists this holiday weekend, enough to dissuade others from hitting the road.

“I like to travel when other people aren’t traveling, that’s my plan," said driver Joy Smith.

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