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Stable gasoline prices may fuel greater travel

May 24, 2002|BY Kimberly Yakowski and Laura Ernde

Seasonable weather and a drop in gas prices across the Tri-State area has AAA officials predicting motorists will be taking to the highways in big numbers this Memorial Day weekend.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Hagerstown area is $1.34, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

That's about 26 cents a gallon less than motorists paid last Memorial Day weekend.

Nationally, unleaded gas has been holding steady at about $1.40 a gallon since April, Bevi Norris, spokeswoman for AAA West Penn, West Virginia/South Central Ohio said in a press release.

"This lengthy period of fuel price stability is a positive development for the U.S. travel industry since Memorial Day holiday gasoline prices will be at their lowest level in three years," Norris said.

Weather throughout the weekend is expected to be partly cloudy with highs in the upper 70s to 80s and lows in the 50s, according to the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

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Of the major holidays, Memorial Day is the only one that has drawn more travelers since 1994, according to AAA archives.

In 1994, 31.8 million people took a Memorial Day trip compared to 34.2 million in 2001.

Although Christmas/New Year's Day remains the most heavily traveled holiday, the number of travelers dropped from 54.6 million to 53.7 million over the same time period.

Thanksgiving travel has also dropped off slightly while July 4 and Labor Day have stayed about the same, according to AAA.

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