Traveling not costly this year

Published 1:27 pm Saturday, December 19, 2009

Traveling by car to visit family or friends for the holidays this year should not put much of a strain on the wallet.

“The outlook between now and the beginning of next year looks pretty stable for gas prices,” said Clay Ingram, public relations manager for AAA of Alabama.

“We could see a few cents increase because of the holidays, but most stations will stay pretty close for the rest of the year,” he said.

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The state average gas price per gallon is $2.48.

Crude oil barrel prices have dropped from $78 to $80 a barrel to $71 to $72 per barrel in the past few weeks, Ingram said.

He also projects a 3.8 percent increase in the number of people traveling this year. The number dropped last year during the strains of the drop in the economy.

“There were just a lot of people who had just lost their jobs and decided to stay home and not spend much,” Ingram said.

“The overall feeling is more positive this year.”

Summer plans tend to be more effected by gas prices than Thanksgiving and Christmas traveling, Ingram said.

People want to spend the holidays with family and will pay the extra few cents for gas to do so, Ingram said.

His sister visiting for the holidays, and he is positive gas prices will not keep them from spending the holidays together.

“I’m not going to let it, and they’re not going to let an increase stop our plans,” he said.

Prices are settling locally as well.

“Gasoline has stabilized for now, said Gene Hisel of Raceway.

In the last two weeks, prices did drop 10 cents, leaving prices at the current $2.38 per gallon of regular. “I don’t expect prices to fluctuate during the holidays,” Hisel said. “Supply and demand has taken care of that.”