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Gas prices drop in time for holiday weekend

August 31, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Just in time for Labor Day weekend getaways, gas prices in Maryland have reached their lowest point in almost five months, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Statewide, the average price for a gallon of self-serve regular was $2.66 on Thursday, 21 cents less than last year. In Hagerstown, the average was $2.71; nationally, it was $2.77.

But despite the lower gas prices, the number of Americans traveling this holiday weekend should be about the same as last year, AAA predicted. About 34.8 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, only a 0.2 percent increase from last year.

"Many Americans perceive travel costs to be more expensive than they were last year and that is not necessarily the case," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Ragina C. Averella said.

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While more than 652,000 Marylanders are expected to travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, state officials also are gearing up for an influx of travelers into the state.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) are planning a recreational activity safety enforcement effort called "Operation Nightfall" to counter the typical jump in boating and hunting accidents that occurs over Labor Day weekend.

NRP officers in boats and aircraft will be on the lookout for boaters operating impaired and in a negligent and reckless manner, and roving land patrols will be watching for hunting safety violations and trespassing, NRP said. Officers also will be enforcing quiet hours at park and forest campgrounds.

Last year, there was less boating activity than normal over Labor Day weekend due to poor weather conditions, but NRP still issued a total of 1,035 citations and warnings, investigated a boating-related fatality and charged four people with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, NRP Sgt. Ken Turner said.




Local gas prices



The following were the listed prices as of Thursday night for regular self-serve gasoline at three businesses in Hagerstown.

· AC&T at 1615 Wesel Blvd. - $2.669

· Sheetz at 1396 S. Potomac St. - $2.699

· Shell at 17722 Virginia Ave. - $2.699

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