HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - AAA is predicting this holiday season to be the busiest on record. The auto-club giant points to a combination of factors including those sharply lower gas prices you're seeing.
The new Sunoco gas station on the corner of University Drive and Pulaski Pike in Huntsville is offering gas for $1.99 a gallon. Most gas stations is the Tennessee Valley are offering gas below $2.50. Prices are at their lowest since the summer of 2009.
But it is not just gas prices encouraging people to travel more. AAA says the improving economy plays a big role, as well as the calendar. Because both Christmas and New Years Day fall on a Thursday, it makes long weekend trips easier for families.
AAA projects nearly 99 million Americans hit the roads driving 50 miles or more.
"(The low gas price) frees up your capital so there is a lot of other things you can do," said driver Charles Kittleson. "You can travel more, you can visit friends, you can spend more time with family, just have a better quality of life."
But while those falling prices may help you and your budget, economists say there is a negative impact. Especially for those in the oil industry.
"If you are making your money off of oil extraction and we see a drop in the price of oil per barrel, obviously you are going to make less money," said Economist David Hoaas.
Are you wondering why gas prices are so low? Economists point to a multitude of reasons. Two of the main ones are that there is less demand for oil because of faltering economies in Europe and China. Also, the US is producing more oil domestically and importing a lot less.