Dip in Gas Prices Could Mean More Holiday Travelers

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Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Even though gas prices are still high, a recent drop at the pump could give travelers much needed relief.

AAA says Americans are taking advantage of the situation as nine out of 10 travelers are expected to go by car this weekend.

AAA predicts nearly 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles from home, a 1.2 percent increase over last year.

"We are seeing summer travel trends picking up a bit," AAA's Director of Public Affairs Gail Weinholzer said.

"We're seeing the prices go down so I'm thinking that traveling would be more enjoyable with the prices where they are," said Diane Clemons, who plans to drive over the Memorial Day Weekend.

"Thank goodness," said Kay Williams, another holiday traveler. "I'd be more excited if I thought it was something that was going to last, and I'm sure it's not, so we'll just have to wait and see."

Just a few weeks ago, experts were predicting $5.00 or even $6.00 gas!

It turns out those forecasts may have been too aggressive as gas prices have steadily dropped in recent weeks.

In early April, the national average for a gallon was hovering around $4.00. It's now down about a quarter.

So what happened to those dire predictions?

This week the price of a barrel of oil hit a seven-month low. Analysts point to a dip in demand for gas here in the U.S., along with several big global factors.

"Tensions with Iran have lessened and that was one of the things pushing oil and gas prices up," explained Dan Gross of Yahoo! Finance. "The global economy has certainly slowed down."

Experts predict the lower prices will hold steady over the summer.

Still, drivers need to be on their guard.

In the Clarks Summit area of Pennsylvania, for example, drivers encountered a 16-cent difference in price within a few-mile stretch.

AAA's survey shows fewer people are flying this year -- about 5.5 percent less than last year.

Originally posted on Friday, May 25th.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.