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Monday, December 19, 2011 - 12:10pm

More Georgians Driving For Holidays

More than a quarter of Georgians are hitting the roads for the holidays in the next couple of weeks, prompted by low gas prices and high airfares.

That’s 2.5 million Georgians who plan to travel 50 miles or more for the holidays, a slight increase over last year, according to AAA’s holiday travel forecast. The lion’s share – 90 percent – are driving.

AAA officials expect this Friday will likely be the busiest travel day.

“If people weren’t able to take the day off prior to that, they will typically try to take Friday off and get to their destination to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day wherever it is that they’re going with friends and family,” said AAA’s Jessica Brady. “So Friday’s going to be a very busy day and probably Saturday as well.”

Nearly 12 percent fewer Georgians plan to travel by air. Brady said airfares are up 21 percent over last year, while gas in Georgia is down 6 cents from last week and 22 cents from last month.

She said those low fuel prices should continue through the first months of 2012.

“Typically January and February do see some of the lowest gas-price averages for the year as those two months have the lowest demand levels,” Brady said. “The holidays are over, we’re in the dead of winter, people really aren’t traveling as much, [and] they’re getting back into the daily grind.”

The cheapest gas in Georgia this week is in the Augusta area at $3 a gallon. Athens is most expensive at $3.19 a gallon.