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Lower gas prices driving July 4 travel

AAA predicts 2.5 Texans to hit the road

SAN ANTONIO - As Jerry Leach topped off his tank Friday, just the sight of near-$3 gas was a fireworks moment.

"It's awesome," he said. "It's lot lower than our neck of the woods."

Back home in Oregon, Leach said he's been paying $4.30 a gallon. Now his family is Corpus Christi beach-bound for the July 4 holiday. He'll have plenty of company on the highways.  AAA predicts 2.5 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more for the Independence Day holiday, a 5 percent increase over last  year.

What's driving the increase is lower gas prices. In San Antonio, the price of a gallon has tanked eight cents in the past week alone.

Viviana Sandoval was feeling the freedom.

"It's an incentive to hit the road and be with family," she said. "So, that's what we're going to do."

Tasha Manaway also welcomed the  falling fuel prices, $3.08 at the Murphy USA at Loop 410 and Rigsby.

"Since it has come down, we're thinking about taking a trip to El Paso to visit family," she said.

The average price of a gallon of gas Friday in San Antonio was $3.16, 24 cents less than one month ago and 30 cents less than last Fourth of July.

For the average tank, that means a fill-up costs $6 less than one year ago. That's more than enough to buy a big watermelon to take to the Fourth of July celebrations.

The holiday falling midweek is another reason travel is expected to be up as more families pack up the SUV and make a whole week of it.

"Actually, my family is coming down here," said Blair Fowler. "We'll be barbecuing."

The only gas she'll be buying for the holiday is for the grill.


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