People hoping to get away over the Fourth of July weekend may find it a little easier on their wallets this year.
Several gas stations across Middle Georgia were boasting prices lower than $3 per gallon for regular gasoline Friday.
Prices north and south run higher, but Macon, Perry, Warner Robins and Byron all have gas stations selling gas at $2.99 or lower, according to www.gasbuddy.com.
Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South, said AAA estimates 1.1 million Georgians will travel at least 50 miles away from their homes this Independence Day holiday, and about 983,000 of them will be driving.
Thats a 5 percent increase in overall traffic from last year, and Brady said she wouldnt rule out lower gas prices as a factor.
As of Friday morning, the average gas price in Macon was $3.11 per gallon, Brady said. The price is 4 cents lower than it was a week ago and 19 cents lower than last month.
The relatively low prices at the pump go against the expectation for gas prices to rise in the summer, but Brady said prices havent followed that trend since the economic problems of 2008.
Before 2008, prices peaked in July and went down through the remainder of summer before leveling out in September. Last year, however, prices peaked in May, and this year, Brady said, it appears they peaked in April.
At this point, it does look like prices will continue to decline, she said.
Bill Stapleton filled up his truck at the Kroger gas station on Zebulon Road for $2.99. He said hes glad to see the lower cost, but he fears the 160 mile round-trip commute he makes each day will still hurt his wallet.
Its nice to see it so low, but its not going to make that much of a difference, he said.
Katie Barton went across the street Friday to Murphy USA, where gas was $2.98 per gallon.
Despite just the one penny difference, twice as many cars lined up at Kroger, something a Murphy USA employee attributed to the fact that his gas station is farther back from Zebulon Road.
Barton, who recently returned from Blue Ridge, said the low gas prices in Macon were a nice surprise. She doesnt have holiday travel plans, but if she decides to go somewhere, the prices will make it easier.
Its not all good news, though. Brady said the idea that low gas prices mean the economy is good is a fallacy.
I think a lot of people think if gas prices are going down and people are spending less at the pump, the economy will do better because people have more disposable income, she said.
Brady said low gas prices can, in fact, be a sign of a struggling economy.
Prices are lowered when the supply of gasoline is greater than the demand.
The supply of gasoline is currently high due to lower crude oil prices, but domestic demand is still low because a large number of Americans are still struggling.
International problems can be reflected at the pump as well.
Earlier this year, Iran threatened to cut off 20 percent of the worlds oil supply by blocking the Strait of Hormuz in response to United Nations sanctions.
Brady said fear of an oil crisis caused prices to rise, but they have gone back down now that America feels secure in Irans oil supply.
Because so many factors contribute to gas prices, Brady said its impossible to predict how low they might drop in the coming months.