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Relief At Pump Spurs Westchester Holiday Travellers

Westchester County travelers will join nearly 100 million around the country to set a record this holiday season.
Westchester County travelers will join nearly 100 million around the country to set a record this holiday season. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user Mike Mozart

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – With the price of gas continuing to plummet, a healthier national economy and reduced flight costs, Westchester County residents will join millions of others this holiday season to make it the most travelled on record.

According to estimates released by AAA on Tuesday, 98.6 million Americans are projected to venture 50 miles or more away from home during the year-end holiday period. This marks in increase of 4 percent over last year’s 94.8 million travelers.

The year-end holiday period spans from Tuesday, Dec. 23 before Christmas through Sunday, Jan. 4 after New Year's.

According to estimates released by AAA on Tuesday, 98.6 million Americans are projected to venture 50 miles or more away from home during the year-end holiday period. This marks in increase of 4 percent over last year’s 94.8 million travelers.

The year-end holiday period spans from Tuesday, Dec. 23 before Christmas through Sunday, Jan. 4 after New Years.

There are several factors playing into the increase in travelers, but much of it has to do with the dramatic plunge in price motorists have enjoyed at the pump the last six months.

Due to steady production overseas and an increase in hydraulic fracturing domestically – which was banned in New York by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday - the price of crude oil has decreased sharply, dropping the national average per gallon of gas more than 70 cents, from $3.22 to $2.50 in the past year.

“Under the normal cycle, when you get to the winter, you switch to a cheaper, less complicated gasoline and prices go down, but this is unprecedented,” AAA New York Media Manager Robert Sinclair said. “The fall has been happening since June. We peaked at $107.26 per barrel of crude oil on June 26. Last I checked we were at $53 and change.”

Sinclair noted that the uptick in travelers this year may be directly correlated to the slashed gas prices. Nationwide, in the next four business quarters, the savings are projected to trump $90 billion if trends continue.

“It’s a very real, very significant savings, and we think that it has a lot to do with so many traveling for the year end holiday,” he said. “It could mean as much as $750 extra in your pocket, and people are doing more with it.

Although motorists have enjoyed relief locally, New Yorkers are still paying the most per gallon of gas in the continental United States. At an average of $2.95 per gallon, New York is still 45 cents higher than the national average. Missouri enjoys the country’s cheapest gas, at a meager $2.19 per gallon.

“In spite of prices being as good as they are, we in New York are still paying the highest statewide gas prices, so don’t break out the champagne just yet,” Sinclair mused. “So don’t break out the champagne just yet. If you want to do that, maybe head to New Jersey (an average of $2.47).”

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