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AAA Texas: Gas prices take a holiday dive

Average price per gallon at lowest level in over 5 years

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Many travelers hitting the road this weekend ahead of the Christmas holiday are finding early gifts at the gas pumps, minus the red bows.

AAA Texas predicts the record 8.1 million who will drive more than 50 miles from home will find the price per gallon is at its lowest level in more than five years.

Its survey shows the average price statewide is $2.26, but in the San Antonio area Friday, gas was at least 10 cents lower.

For instance, along Interstate 35 in New Braunfels, at Buc-ee's, the popular pre-destination mecca, the price was $2.15 per gallon.

Bound for Dallas, Harry Church said, "It's great. It's a lot better than last year. Gone down, what, about a buck?"

Dee Phillips, who was going to East Texas, said he remembers when he bought his truck, gas was $3.35 a gallon.

Phillips said a year ago, filling up cost him "probably $90, now it's probably $45-$55."

Paul Dunn said he's seeing dramatic savings.

"(It) used to cost me $50 to fill up this car and today, I filled it up for $26.50," Dunn said. "It's unimaginable."

Mike Vruwink said, "It's fantastic! What a perfect Christmas gift for a little extra money this time of the year."

"Yes, of course," said Marisa Roberts. "More presents for the kids, even for yourself!"

Church said every little bit helps, "A nickel here. A nickel there. Five dollars here. Ten dollars there. It always helps."

Dunn said savings at the pump means more money to spend.

"It allows you to do things you may not have been able to do before," he said.

AAA estimates drivers now save more than $400 million a day compared to the nearly 25 percent higher prices at the start of 2014.

"Barring any spikes in global prices or declines in domestic production, prices at the pump should remain relatively low approaching the new year and into 2015," said Doug Shupe, AAA spokesman.