photo via Flickr// Michael Kappel

Emergencies have been declared in a half-dozen Southeastern states, after a leak in a gasoline pipeline began to show up at the pump. 

Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia have all have relaxed restrictions on fuel transportation to stave off shortages and price spikes. 

John-Mark Kuznietsov /

  Nearly 43 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for their Independence Day revelry, according to AAA.

If the auto club’s projection pans out, the period between Thursday, June 30 and Monday, July 4 will see 500,000 more travelers than last year. Eighty-four percent will travel by automobile, and will continue to benefit from continued low gas prices, the lowest in 11 years, and other positive economic factors.

Photo via Flickr//tobo /

AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will be on the road this Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial start of the summer travel season.

The Memorial Day period is defined as Thursday, May 26 to the actual holiday on Monday the 30th.

“We’re expecting an additional 700,000 Memorial Day travelers,” said Mark Jenkins at AAA-South in Tampa. “Largely because growth in the labor market [and] people making more money. But the biggest reason is low gas prices.”

Photo via Flickr// FolsomNatural /

Americans enjoyed the lowest quarterly prices at the gas pump in a dozen years, during the first three months of 2016. But the historical spring rise is now underway.

Motorists saved about $10 billion on gas so far this year, compared to the same period in 2015 according to AAA.

Aging Drivers Can Present Some Behind-The-Wheel Safety Issues

Apr 1, 2016
Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

An aging population with a need for independence can be problematic when it comes to matters related to driving. 

Fatality rates for drivers begin to climb after age 65, studies show. From 75 to 84, they are equal to fatality rates of teenage drivers. For drivers 85 and over the rates are nearly 4 times that of teens.  By 2030 all baby boomers will be at least 65 and experts predict they will responsible for more than a fourth of all fatal crashes. 

Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart /

Travelers over the Valentine’s Day weekend no doubt also fell in love with the lowest gasoline prices in seven years.

The national average for self-serve regular is around $1.70 per gallon, 55 cents lower than a year ago.

“I don’t think anybody’s too upset about it, except maybe those in the oil industry,” says Mark Jenkins at AAA South in Tampa.

Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart /

AAA South says the national average price of gas could remain relatively flat, or drop another 10 cents per gallon over the next few weeks.

Florida’s average for self-serve regular is below the $2.00 per gallon mark for the first time since March of 2009. Mark Jenkins at the auto club says the projection is between $2.25 and $2.45, comparable to the $2.40 a gallon average for all of 2014.

AAA projects the number of travelers for Christmas and New Year’s to hit the 100 million mark for the first time ever.

Actually, the auto club says 100.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from now until Sunday, January 3. That’s a 1.4% increase over last year, and seventh consecutive year of growth for this period. A number of variables are at play.

Photo via Flickr// Richard Masoner /

  Almost 47 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home for Thanksgiving, according to AAA: they should have a few more bucks in their pockets for the holidays.

“Busy roads, busy airports as is usual during Thanksgiving, but about 300,000 more travelers than last year,” said Mark Jenkins at AAA-South in Tampa. That figure is up 0.6% from Thanksgiving 2014, and the most in eight years.

The travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29. 

Photo via Flickr// Shandi-lee Cox /

While the summer travel season for 2015 is in the books, many Floridians are planning at least an overnight vacation sometime this fall.

Traveling in the fall is actually more popular than many people think. According to a recent survey by the AAA auto club, about seven in ten Floridians are planning to take a trip of 50 miles or more away from home in the next three months.




Thirty-five and a half million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Labor Day weekend, according to Triple-A. And they can expect to find the lowest Labor Day gas prices in a decade. 

Last week, the price of crude dropped to below the $40 a barrel mark, the lowest since February, 2009. The current national average price is $2.44 per gallon - 16 cents lower than a week ago, and 99 cents lower than this time last year. Florida’s average is $2.29.

Photo via Flickr// epSos .de /

With gas prices falling at the fastest rate since January, look for more people on the road during the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

“We should continue to see gas prices falling right now because of crude oil prices,” said Mark Jenkins with AAASouth in Tampa.

Self-serve regular averages $2.51 per gallon across Florida. In Pensacola, the average is $2.48 – down nine cents from a month ago and $0.87  a gallon less than early August, 2014.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the importance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to local beach tourism and his latest viewpoint on wage growth.

First, visitors and locals alike will be celebrating Independence Day across the gulf coast this weekend.

According to Harper, the forward looking indicators are very strong.

“We’re seeing low gas prices, lowest they’ve been really in about five years,” he said. “We’re also seeing job growth.”

Photo via Flickr// haljackey /

The number of  Americans hitting the road this Independence Day weekend is expected to be up 0.07% compared to last year, according to AAA.

The auto club projects 41.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the holiday weekend, which runs from Wednesday July 1 to Sunday July 5. AAA’s Mark Jenkins says 85%, or about 35 million travelers, will drive to their destinations.

Photo via Flickr// State Farm

We are now in the “100 Deadliest Days” on the highways, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when crash fatalities historically climb. AAA’s focus in that period is on drivers between 15-19 years of age.

According to a 2013 study by the auto club’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, roughly 75% of the 372,000 injuries and 2,900 fatalities in auto accidents in which a teenager was driving, were people other than the driver.

AAA is projecting the upcoming Memorial Day weekend as one of the most traveled – if not the most-traveled – in history.

Just over 37 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home during the long weekend – from Thursday, May 21 to Monday, May 25.  That’s a 4.7% increase from last year, and is the highest travel volume for Memorial Day in a decade.

Josh Morton

Last week almost 40 older adult drivers showed up to take part in the first ever CarFit event to be held at the University of West Florida. CarFit is an educational program that looks at issues older drivers may be having, and seeks to find and present solutions to these issues, bringing about a better sense of safety and comfort to the drivers and the vehicles they are being fitted for.

Fran Carlin-Rogers, a national CarFit instructor, drove up from Orlando to do the training for all of the participating CarFit volunteers as well as run the event itself. 

Photo via Flickr// Doug Kerr /

If a number of factors fall into place, motorists could be enjoying another round of lower gas prices in time for summer vacations.

AAA South in Tampa says gas prices are falling at the rate of about $0.05 per week, on pace to be about $0.40 per gallon lower than right now. But Mark Jenkins at the Auto Club adds that there are no guarantees, with a lot of factors playing into fluctuations.


The University of West Florida Center on Aging is hosting a CarFit event this week on the UWF Main Campus. The CarFit program teaches older adult drivers how to make their personal vehicle “fit” them better for increased mobility and improved safety when they hit the road.

Photo via Flickr//Richard Masoner

  Sub $2 per gallon gasoline appears to be a thing of the recent past, with prices jumping more than a dime last week across the Southeast. 

Self-serve regular in Pensacola averages $2.18 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s up a dime from last week, but $1.10 lower than a year ago. Much of the increase is seasonal.