Holiday travelers hit the roads as gas prices hit new lows

Larry and Pat Moody say traffic late Sunday into the early hours of Monday was fairly light between Scarborough, Maine, and Dale City, Virginia. The couple and dog Bailey are destined for North Carolina to “just relax” with family. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Larry and Pat Moody say traffic late Sunday into the early hours of Monday was fairly light between Scarborough, Maine, and Dale City, Virginia. The couple and dog Bailey are destined for North Carolina to “just relax” with family. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Dennis Christner says his family’s trip from Poland, Maine, to Sarasota, Florida, was planned at the last minute, otherwise they might have booked airfare. Dog Hogan is said to ‘travel well’ in the car. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Dennis Christner says his family’s trip from Poland, Maine, to Sarasota, Florida, was planned at the last minute, otherwise they might have booked airfare. Dog Hogan is said to ‘travel well’ in the car. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
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Larry and Pat Moody say traffic late Sunday into the early hours of Monday was fairly light between Scarborough, Maine, and Dale City, Virginia. The couple and dog Bailey are destined for North Carolina to “just relax” with family. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Dennis Christner says his family’s trip from Poland, Maine, to Sarasota, Florida, was planned at the last minute, otherwise they might have booked airfare. Dog Hogan is said to ‘travel well’ in the car. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — People making holiday road trips are getting an early Christmas gift in the form of cheaper gas prices.

Compared with this time last year, gas prices are 43 cents cheaper on average nationally, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. Locally, gas is now 53 cents cheaper — the lowest average price for regular unleaded here since 2009.

“In the AAA Mid-Atlantic footprint, Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia have state average prices under $2,” the auto club says in a news release.

It’s unclear how much lower fuel prices are contributing to holiday travel trends, but AAA estimates a record-breaking 100 million or more Americans will journey 50 miles or more for the holidays, and that 91 percent of travelers plan to make the journey by driving.

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