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Record travel expected this holiday season

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 7:35 a.m. MST

Fortunately, Utah motorists received an early Christmas gift as gasoline prices fell 31 cents during the past month. Utah ranked third among the 10 states reporting the greatest decreases in gasoline prices in the past 30 days, with the current price for a gallon of regular gasoline at $3.40 — 24 cents higher than a year ago.

All Utah cities tracked by AAA reported double-digit decreases since last month with Logan drivers experiencing the biggest drop — a whopping 42 cents in the past month. Vernal reported the smallest drop at 25 cents.

The national average price at the pump was $3.33 per gallon, a nickel more than a year ago. AAA predicts that with only a short time left in 2012, the average fuel price this year will be the highest ever on record.

“Prices at the pump have steadily declined across the country as demand continues to be low and supplies remain robust,” Fairclough said. “The exception is the East Coast where supplies are increasing but remain somewhat tight following the disruption from Hurricane Sandy. While the demand will increase slightly for the holidays, overall demand is expected to remain low into 2013, keeping prices down.”

Early forecast

Forecasters predict the chances for inclement weather in Utah increase as Christmas Eve approaches.

KSL chief meteorologist Kevin Eubank said some snow is expected along the Wasatch Front on Dec. 24, while travelers moving through the Midwest or along the East Coast will have mostly clear skies and very few travel delays. However, those in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California or Southeast regions could have some storms to contend with.

“Overall, air traffic going across the country — no problem,” Eubank said. But on Christmas Day, Colorado should see snow and rain could hit the Gulf States, he added.

The weather patterns strengthen on Dec. 26, he said, with storms expected to intensify in many areas of the country.

“Pre-Christmas, no major travel problems,” Eubank said. “After Christmas, (with) a storm going through the upper Midwest, Colorado and then down to the southern Gulf States … that could cause problems for people going in and out of Atlanta and (other air connections hubs.)”

AAA Winter Travel Survival Tips

· Pack a cellular phone and car charger. Have emergency numbers available.

· If you become snowbound, stay with your vehicle. It is an excellent shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to find you.

· Stay focused while driving. Avoid distractions such as text messaging, talking on the phone and adjusting the radio or other electronic devices.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com, Twitter: JasenLee1

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