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Record-breaking number of Virginians expected to travel over holidays

RICHMOND, Va. -- More Virginians are expected to travel for the year-end holidays than ever before, according to AAA.

More than three million Virginians will fly , drive, or ride the train which represents a 2.9 percent increase compared to last year.

"Gas prices may be slightly higher than this same time last year, but that is definitely not keeping travelers at home," Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said.

Nationwide, 107 million Americans will travel for the long holiday which is considered from December 23 to January 1. This year marks the ninth consecutive year of rising year-end holiday travel.

"In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend – Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving – and we project the same for the year-end holiday period. We’ve seen the strong economy and growing consumer confidence fuel holiday travel all year long,” said Arnette.

Since 2005, total year-end holiday travel volume has grown by 21.6 million, an increase of more than 25 percent.

AAA said commuters would see peak congestion on the roadways between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Ninety percent of holiday travelers choosing to drive will find the most expensive year-end gas prices since 2014.

This December’s national average price is $2.47, which is 28 cents more than last December.

Virginia drivers are also paying higher prices at the pump by about 15 cents per gallon compared to last year.

The good news is that AAA does expect the average to drop at least another five cents by year-end, saving motorists a few pennies at the pump.