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Gas prices expected to hold steady through holiday season

LANETT — As thousands of people gear up to hit the road this week for the holidays, gas prices are expected to stay relatively unchanged until the New Year, according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Gas prices in Alabama are averaging about $2.24 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy, which about a cent cheaper than a month ago, but about 27 cents higher than a year ago.

On the Alabama side of the Greater Valley Area in Lanett and Valley, gas prices hovered at about $2.17 and $2.19.

Moving toward LaFayette, on Highway 50, prices crept up to $2.35 and were $2.28 in LaFayette. Heading south off Interstate 85 in Cusseta, prices averaged $2.39. In West Point, prices were averaging about $2.37 at gas stations Monday.

DeHaan said one of the biggest reasons for the price discrepancies between Alabama and Georgia are gas taxes.

Alabama has a $0.16 tax per gallon, while Georgia has a $0.26 tax per gallon, according to the respective state’s department of revenues.

After Christmas, DeHaan said motorists could expect gas prices to remain stable until the New Year. After the turn of the calendar, he said prices tend to drop a bit and then go back up in mid-February. He said the reason for the stable prices at the moment is due to oil prices holding steady.

“With motorists preparing to hit the road to celebrate Christmas with loved ones, the national average has seen its seventh weekly decline, falling to a fresh low since March, “ DeHaan said in a news release. “Closing out 2019 will likely see some additional downward momentum, but the next million-dollar question motorists are beginning to ask: what will the new decade bring to the pump? What’s 2020 going to look like? GasBuddy is preparing to answer those questions just in time for the New Year, but for now, motorists need not worry, and should continue to enjoy affordable gasoline prices in nearly all states — and that’s a terrific end to 2019 as well.”

DeHaan also said that although the public perception is that gas prices tend to increase during the holidays that isn’t the case.

“Everyone thinks prices go up around the holidays because people think everybody starts to drive more,” he said to the Valley Times-News. “That is not true. They drive to their destination, and then they park their car for a couple of days. So, they aren’t driving as much because there is less back-and-forth traffic.”

He said gas prices are not dictated by the holidays but by supply and demand of oil.

“All things being said, the demand is about equal (during the holidays),” DeHaan said.