Gas prices expected to be stable during the holidays

(Winston-Salem Journal)

(Winston-Salem Journal)

Gasoline prices appear to be holding steady moving into the Christmas holiday travel season.

“We’re starting to see some stabilization probably due to increased demand because so many people are hitting the road, and Christmas is the highest volume period of the year,” said Angela Vogel Daley, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association.

In the Triad, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.21 on Monday, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

That’s the same price it was a week ago but 6 cents cheaper than a month ago, when a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.27.

Statewide, the price was $3.24 on Monday, the same price as a week ago, but 6 cents less than a month ago when gas was $3.30.

Still, gas is slightly lower than it was a year ago when it was $3.22 in the Triad and $3.25 in the state.

“The good news is that oil supplies domestically are good, and globally they are good,” Daley said.

She said that except for the holiday travel period, the demand for gas during the winter months is typically at its lowest. She also said that gas prices tend to show little movement in January.

Michael Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University, said he expects little change in gas prices until the spring, when he believes they will drift near $3.50 a gallon. Then he expects prices to range from $3.45 to $3.55 until the summer.

Daley said that the biggest number of people would have traveled last weekend.

AAA Carolinas defines the 12-day Christmas/New Year’s travel holiday as last Saturday through Jan. 1.

AAA Carolinas estimated that 2.82 million North Carolinians will travel 50 miles or more for the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.

That’s an increase of 48,500 travelers compared to last year, and the highest year—end travel increase on record. Of total travelers, 2.55 million, or 90.5 percent, are expected to drive to their destination.

AAA Carolinas estimated that 155,200 North Carolinians, or 5.5 percent of travelers, will fly to their destinations, and 111,600, or 4 percent, will use another mode of transportation such as train, bus or boat.