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AAA says holiday travel expected to be down 27 percent in Midwest

Holiday travel is expected to be down about 27 percent in midwestern states compared to a year...
Holiday travel is expected to be down about 27 percent in midwestern states compared to a year ago because of lingering effects of COVID-19, according to AAA Kansas.(Phil Anderson)
Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 6:05 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Because of the coronavirus pandemic, AAA is projecting 2.5 million fewer travelers over the year-end holiday period.

AAA officials early Monday said the seven-state mid-states region, which includes Kansas, should see a 27 percent drop in travel compared to a year ago.

An estimated 7.1 million people in AAA’s West North Central Region -- which includes Kansas -- are projected to travel over the Christmas holiday. That number is down about 2.5 9.million from the 9.6 million who traveled during the same holiday period a year ago.

Some 97% of those planning to take trips will do so by car, AAA added. However, even auto travel will be down 23 percent during the upcoming holidays compared to 2019.

And air travel is expected to be down by 23 percent from a year ago.

For those planning to hit the road, gas prices are “significantly lower” than they were a year ago at this time, AAA says.

Nationwide, about 75 percent of Americans are expected to stay home for the holidays between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3 because of the effects of COVID-19.

“Public health concerns, official guidance not to travel, and an overall decline in consumer sentiment have encouraged the vast majority of Kansans and Americans overall to stay home for the holidays,” Shawn Steward, spokesman for AAA Kansas, said in a news release. “The CDC urges Americans not to travel for the holidays this year, warning that travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. For those who do make the personal decision to travel, however, it is important to understand the risks involved and take steps to keep yourself and others safe.”

Meanwhile, gas prices are creeping up just before Christmas. According to AAA, Monday’s national average for a gallon of unleaded fuel was $2.221, up nearly 6 cents from the $2.164 from a week ago.

The national average for gas was about $2.55 a gallon a year ago.

According to GasBuddy.com, Monday’s gas prices in Topeka ranged from $1.82 to $2.09 a gallon.

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