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Gas prices drop ahead of holidays

<p>Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - Signs at Terrible’s Country Store and the Rebel station on Highway 160 both showed gas dropping below $3 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.</p>

Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - Signs at Terrible’s Country Store and the Rebel station on Highway 160 both showed gas dropping below $3 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.

Gasoline prices in Pahrump dropped below $3 per gallon Wednesday, with both the Terrible’s Country Store at Highway 160 and Calvada Boulevard and the Rebel station at Basin Avenue and Highway 160 posting prices of $2.99 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.

The lower prices come just as millions of Americans hit the road for the Christmas-New Year holiday.

The American Automobile Association said statewide gas prices averaged $3.27 per gallon for regular unleaded, in Las Vegas the average was $3.20. A month ago, AAA reported gas prices in Nevada averaged $3.32 per gallon for regular unleaded and $3.25 in Las Vegas.

AAA predicts more than 7.2 million Mountain West residents are expected to travel during this end of the year holiday season, representing an overall increase of 0.5 percent compared to 2012.

“This year’s increase in travel is due in part to the longer holiday travel period that covers two weekends,” said AAA Nevada spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “This enables families to travel for a longer period of time to destinations that are further away.”

AAA estimates more than 6.5 million Mountain West residents traveling during Christmas and New Year’s will choose to drive to their holiday destinations, representing a 0.9 percent increase compared to last year.

The air travel industry will experience a decrease this year as slightly more than 500,000 residents are expected to fly, a drop of -1.5 percent compared to 2012. Approximately 220,000 state residents are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, such as boats or trains. This represents a -6.1 percent decrease compared to last year.

Nationally, AAA projects 94 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities. That’s a 0.6 percent increase compared to last year.

Family travel constitutes 29 percent of total travelers during the year-end holidays. An average Mountain West family of four will save money by staying with friends and family, with overall expenditures of $812. An average Mountain West family road trip will consist of approximately 970 miles.

Mountain West residents who take to the skies during this holiday season will pay an average price of $199 per round trip ticket for the top U.S. air routes. This represents a decrease of -1.4 percent from last year.