More Americans than ever are expected to hit the roads this holiday season. AAA expects a record of 115.6 million people will travel between December 21st through January 1st. AAA says it’s nearly a 4% increase from last year’s totals. 104 million of that total is expected to be on the nation’s highways. AAA reported on Monday that the average cost of a gallon of unleaded fuel is $2.57. AAA says that it’s a nickel cheaper than last month but represents a 15-cent increase from this time last year. Since the end of October, gasoline demand has mostly decreased as gasoline stocks have mostly increased, paving the way for cheaper gas prices. AAA expects stocks to continue to grow and drive gas prices even cheaper through year-end. Illinois saw a 2 cent increase in the last month.
Locally, in Jacksonville of all 15 gas stations, the average cost of unleaded fuel is $2.61. Nationally, drivers could experience double the travel times on Thursday and Friday afternoon next week, with some major cities seeing triple the increase. AAA says that despite the cheaper gas in the nation, it still will not be close enough to touch the average of $2.37 last year. AAA wants to remind motorists to not offend other drivers, be tolerant and forgiving of other driver’s mistakes, and do not respond to any unkind drivers on the highway and call 9-1-1 if there is any form of harassment. AAA says that it is likely to respond to more than 850,000 stranded motorists or accidents during the holiday drive time.