Gas prices drop as travel season approachesPublished 1:05pm Saturday, June 29, 2013
A total of 40.8 million travelers are set to travel 50 miles or more this July 4, according to AAA.
July 3 and 7 are expected to be the busiest travel days, and the average traveler is expected to venture a roundtrip distance of 613 miles and spend a total of $747.
“Independence Day is typically the busiest holiday of the summer travel season with 6 million more Americans traveling than on Memorial Day just two months ago. The Fourth of July benefits from the fact that all schools across the nation are out of session, making it truly a time for family fun,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet.
Gas prices are not expected to be a major factor affecting travel decisions for the holiday weekend.
The price of a gallon of regular unleaded is down in Alabama 15 percent from March, when it hit its highest point of the year at $3.53.
The current state average is a $3.29 a gallon – down six cents from a week ago but one cent higher than one month ago. The current price per gallon is 22 cents higher than this time last year.
Despite being down from the high point of this year, AAA reports that many motorists still find the current price too expensive.
According to survey data, half of Americans consider gas prices to be too high once they reach $3.44 a gallon, with 46 percent of adults reporting that $3 is too high. Data show that 62 percent of Americans have offset the high price at the pump by changing their driving habits.
This year’s travel projections represent a 0.8 decrease from the 2012 Independence Day holiday travel period. AAA cited economic factors could be the cause for the decrease.
“This projection is due to the calendar effect of one fewer day in the holiday period and economic growth that is not robust enough to offset the impact of the sequester and the effect of the end of the payroll tax cut on American families,” Darbelnet said.
AAA urged motorists to stay safe on the roads and to pay attention to the task at hand.
“Mental distractions can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don’t see potential hazards right in front of them,” Darbelnet said. “It is not sufficient to have our hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, we also need our minds on driving.”