Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 1, 2012

Falling gas prices make summer vacations more feasible

BLUEFIELD — Gasoline prices continued declining Friday as the busy Fourth of July holiday and the traffic it generates approached and sent local motorists to the gas pumps.

In some parts of Virginia, the price of regular gasoline slipped below $3 a gallon. At a convenience store in Falls Mills, Va., customers could purchase regular gas for $2.93 a gallon. The store was seeing plenty of West Virginia motorists coming to fill up.

“We actually have a good clientele from West Virginia that comes in,” said a clerk who declined to give her name. “And today is the first of the month — paycheck day — and we are quite busy here.”

Back across the state line in Bluefield, the price of regular gas was $3.29 a gallon.

The number of Americans planning to travel this Fourth of July is expected to be high this year, according to Kathy Combs, district office supervisor for the AAA in Bluefield.

The American Automobile Association estimated that more than 40 million people would travel 50 miles or more from home this year, a 4.9 increase over last year.

Since Independence Day falls on Wednesday this year, the calendar will play a role in boosting the numbers of people on the highways.

The mid-week holiday expands the traditional five-day travel period to six days, Combs said. It also gives people the option of adding a weekend and two week days to either side of July 4.

While West Virginia’s drivers are paying more for gasoline than their neighbors in Virginia, they are still paying 12 cents a gallon less than they were this same time last year, according to AAA officials.

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