By Lauren Wanko
This morning drivers hit the road early in the hopes of dodging stormy weather and beating a jam-packed Parkway.
“We figured we’d get out before the commuters and before people get out early and before it freezes,” said Wayne resident Tess Walters.
Prices at the pump today gave motorists reason to smile. The average price of gasoline in New Jersey is $3.25 a gallon — a quarter cheaper then last year.
“Nationally the price of gasoline has dropped about 15 cents from a year ago. Right now the national average in the United States is $3.27 a gallon. So it’s one of the good things that we ahve this Thanksgiving vs. last year,” said AAA spokesman Steve Rajczyk
Massachusetts resident Steven Batson loaded the whole family in the car, headed for Ocean City.
When asked what he thought of prices at the pump in New Jersey, Batson said, “Awesome.”
“Can’t beat these gas prices either. It’s about 40 cents more expensive up in Vermont,” said Bill Reynolds.
“I’m real happy. I mean it’s the lowest it’s been in a long time. It gives a break on the wallet. You need that,” said Point Pleasant resident Thomas Moran.
AAA estimates about 90 percent of people plan to travel by car this Thanksgiving — a decline of about 1.6 percent from last year.
“It’s down very marginally, a little over a percent. I think there are still some lingering doubts about the economic recovery and personally I think whatever comes into Thanksgiving, Christmas time this year and we have New Year right around the corner, people are a little apprehensive about what is in the future for the new year,” said Rajczyk.
More than 3 million holiday travelers will fly this year — down almost 4 percent from last year.
“This is the first time we’re not actually flying this Thanksgiving and I’m really happy about it,” said New York City resident Shachan Feldman.
At Newark International Airport, flyers braced for the bad weather.
“I was concerned the last couple of days preparing for the delays, but when I woke up this morning, it didn’t seem as bad as I thought it would be,” said Kelli Donnelly.
“I thought there was gonna be lightning and a lot of rain but it hasn’t been too bad yet. Crossing my fingers,” said New York resident Morgen Kiser.
One New Orleans couple was headed to Germany to hop on a cruise.
When it was pointed out that they were traveling on one of the busiest days of the year, Edith Dorion said, “I know don’t let your husband make the plans.”
Still, not every traveler was laughing today.
“Oh my God, it’s been so much traffic; 280 was packed. The rain, accidents, everything horrible for today,” said Stephanie Montufar.
Frustrated travelers are hoping Thanksgiving day will be a whole lot better.