The road home for Thanksgiving will be more crowded than it’s been since 2005, thanks to a strong economy and more drivers going solo.

Traffic is set to be especially snarled with nearly 18% of U.S. road travelers driving alone this holiday, up from 15% last year, according to retail price tracker GasBuddy. At the same time, air travel is on pace to hit a fresh record boosting ticket prices even as airlines pay less for jet fuel.

Despite the added demand for fuel, prices at the pump are little changed compared to last Thanksgiving, giving Americans a little extra money to spend on travel. Jet fuel during the period when most travelers bought their tickets was also cheaper than last year, while ticket prices rose, boosting margins for airlines.

Lonely Highways

From 1977 to 2017, the most recent year with data, the average number of people per car traveling for social purposes has fallen by 0.3 to 2.1, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.

Auto club AAA spokesman Jim Stratton says gasoline is plentiful now, and so are cars, and both of those contribute to cutting the number of people per vehicle.

“Unless your significant other is going with you, it’s not likely you are going to be going to San Diego or wherever to drop someone off and then go home,” said Nancy McGuckin, a travel behavior analyst in South Pasadena, California. “So traveling alone is a matter of convenience for many.”

GasBuddy says national retail gasoline should average $2.56 a gallon this Thanksgiving, a penny above last year, and that drivers will spend an average of 4 to 6 hours per trip.

Michaela Bonforte, a GIS analyst in Washington D.C. travels to Westchester, New York, for the holidays. She does the drive alone about half of the time and spends $100 or more per trip on gasoline for her Jeep Wrangler.

“It’s busier during the holidays and there is more pressure because more people are on the road and it’s a limited time frame to get there,” Bonforte said.

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