If gas prices are on the rise, we must be getting close to spring break.
Mark Jenkins at AAA South in Tampa says gas prices across Florida have kept relatively stable the past week. But he doesn’t expect that to continue much longer, because of factors that are putting pressure on oil prices. “Gulf Coast refineries’ maintenance continues, the demand for gasoline typically picks up during the spring,” said Jenkins. “And of course, the situation over in Ukraine.” The auto club reports self-serve regular in Pensacola averages $3.37 a gallon – three cents less than last week, but seven cents more than a month ago. Gas prices, according to AAA, are likely to peak at around $3.75 per gallon, and average around $3.39 for all of 2014. UWF economist Rick Harper says the good news for Florida is that the economy as a whole has been on the rebound. Florida’s economy is divided into seasonal economies depending on the time of year. Spring break, says Harper, is enormous this time of year downstate and in Panama City. Pensacola’s turn comes a bit later, from roughly Memorial Day until the start of school in August. And before you do hit the road for that spring break destination, AAA has a couple of fuel-saving tips: avoid speeding and other aggressive driving, and use cruise control and overdrive. Other measures include following the posted speed limit. Jenkins says you can assume that every five miles per hour driven over 50 miles an hour – is like paying an additional $0.24 for a gallon of gas. More information can be found at www.aaa.org.
If you're planning on doing some traveling for the holidays you are not alone. According to Jessica Brady, a spokesperson for AAA, this will be the busiest holiday travel season on record, with an estimated 94.5 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles from home during the two week period. They estimate the average round trip will be a little over 800 miles. In Florida the number of travelers will be up slightly from last year.
AAA projects more than 43 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend.
The auto club’s prediction is down one and a half percent from Thanksgiving 2012, which was the highest travel volume in five years. But Greg Jenkins at AAASouth, in Tampa, says if this year’s numbers pan out, they would be the second-highest. Ninety percent of travelers – just under 39 million – will do so by automobile, including 2.2 million from Florida. Just over three million travelers will take to the skies.
Your holiday road trip will cost a bit less this year. Anyone who has filled up a gas tank over the past couple of weeks has noticed that the price per gallon of gas has been going down slowly but surely. And it looks like that trend will continue over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with prices at the pump about 25 cents less per gallon than last year. Jessica Brady, a spokesperson for AAA says gas prices hit their high point for the year in the late spring and have been coming down ever since. Brady says we're doing better this year than last.