Gas prices at most area service stations have surpassed $3 a gallon once again.
The national average of gasoline is up by 6 cents this week, with an average cost to $3.04 a gallon, according to an AAA Auto Club South news release. Georgia’s average price of $2.95 has increased by 8 cents from last week.
After an increase in demand for both foreign and domestic heating oil, crude oil closed Thursday at $91.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“As expected, the price of oil rose last week and gas prices will rise again this week. This is the first time regular gasoline has reached $3 a gallon since October of 2008. Growing foreign economies, increased need for heating oil, coupled with recent reports showing consumer sentiment in the U.S. is on the rise have investor optimism at a two-year high, thus increasing the price of oil,” AAA public relations manager Jessica Brady said. “While gas prices will increase this week, consumers may see a slight decline in price after the first of the year, since demand for oil typically decreases once the holiday season passes.”
And although gas prices are skyrocketing, that hasn’t kept travelers off the roads this holiday season.
Area resident Kaylah Gibbs, 23, went to Jacksonville, Fla., for the holidays, but even driving her fuel-efficient Hyundai Accent, she said the cost of filling up is still too high.
“It really makes me irritated,” she said. “I know a lot of people complain, but I don’t blame them. I’m just really lucky I get good gas mileage.”
Although final numbers aren’t yet available, AAA Auto Club South projected on Dec. 15 that holiday travels in Georgia would increase 3.2 percent from 2009, with more than 2.7 million residents taking trips of 50 miles or more away from home between Christmas Eve and Sunday, Jan. 2.
“This is the second year in a row we are seeing consistent increases in national holiday travel numbers,” said Brent Hubele, vice president of AAA Travel. “This represents a healthy growth following the relatively strong 4.4 percent increase in 2009 holiday travel and is a notable milestone in the travel industry’s recovery.”
Most people travel by automobile, which has increased traffic by 3.3 percent from last year, according to AAA Auto Club South’s website. Air travel is also expected to rise by 2.9 percent, along with other travel modes, which are projected to go up 1.1 percent.
Although Gibbs did drive to Florida, she said her around-town trips and visits to Savannah have come to a screeching halt. Until gas prices go down, she doesn’t think she will take any random road trips soon.
“In all honesty, we’re going to have to do a boycott and in Florida, that seems to be the only thing that got it down,” she said. “I think they need to lower it for the holidays, and I think people would be more appreciative.”