RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Filling your belly for Thanksgiving will come a little easier across the Carolinas because it will cost less to fill your gas tank.
Charlotte-based AAA Carolinas says there will be a 1 percent increase in the number of people driving during the four-day holiday. Spokesman Tom Crosby attributes the increase to a 54-cent drop in the price of a gallon of gasoline at North Carolina pumps since mid-September.
Traveling in South Carolina will be even less painful. The average price of $3.13 per gallon there is the cheapest in the country. The average price in North Carolina is $3.31.
"The gas prices have dropped precipitously. It's only about 5 cents less than it was last year," Crosby said Tuesday. "The fact that it dropped so quickly means there's more money in your pocket."
Crosby also said the holiday traveler will be feeling a little less stress.
"If the economy hasn't bounced back for you, it has stabilized," he said. "The election being over relieves tension and uncertainty.
"The only thing that would kind of mess it up is a sudden attack of bad weather and it's not on the forecast," Crosby said.
A total of 1,260,500 North Carolinians are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home, and nine out of 10 of them will be driving. The average trip measures about 588 miles round trip.
The motor club says more than 600,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home.
Fewer travelers will be flying to their Thanksgiving dinner this year, and about one in 10 travelers is using either train, boat or bus.
No significant construction delays are expected along North Carolina interstates during the holiday. Work on most projects was suspended beginning Tuesday afternoon and will stay that way through Monday morning.
In South Carolina, the Department of Transportation requires contractors to keep all lanes open during heavy travel holiday.
Crosby is warning motorists to be aware of tractor-trailers along the interstates. He said there will be more of them on the highways shipping goods in advance of Black Friday, the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping day.