Americans ready to hit the road for holidays

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More Americans are planning on traveling this holiday season than last year.

AAA Colorado expects about one quarter of the U.S. population, 87.7 million Americans, to travel 50 miles or more away from home during the year-end holidays. Last year, only 84.5 million Americans traveled during the same time period.

It’s yet another sign that consumers are gaining confidence in the economy.

Eighty-eight percent of holiday season vacationers are expected to travel by automobile, while 5 percent will likely choose airlines. Because gasoline prices are below $3 per gallon, the increase in fuel prices – $.50 more per gallon than during November 2008 – are not expected to affect travel plans.

Within the Mountain region – Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Montana – about  32.5 percent of the population, 7.3 million people, will travel for the year-end holidays. Of this number, 76 percent are expected to travel more than 400 miles round-trip.

Forecasts were conducted by IHS Global Insight and AAA.