The holidays may be slow for many businesses, but for AAA and travelers, this is peak season. In its Christmas forecast, AAA Mid-Atlantic reports new highs in gases prices for Philadelphia holiday travel, while the agency anticipates it will come to the aid of approximately 63,000 stranded motorists throughout its territory (NJ, DE, PA, MD, DC, VA) during the year-end holiday period.
Though pump prices have declined recently, motorists will be met with the highest gas prices ever during the year-end holiday season. AAA reports it to hang around $3.25 per gallon, a new holiday high. With an estimate that 91 percent of all holiday travelers will go by car in the next few weeks, about 912,000 Philadelphia area residents will fuel up in the days ahead.
This caps off a year that saw the highest annual price ever—$3.52 nationally, $3.58 for the year in the Philadelphia five-county area. Locally, Philadelphia averaged a 75-cent increase compared to 2010's $2.83. That figure is the highest since it hit $3.27 in 2008.
"Motorists will certainly welcome the recent drop in gas prices when filling up for holiday travel in the coming weeks, however recent declines won’t ease the burden on pocketbooks for long," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Jenny M. Robinson said. "AAA anticipates prices will continue to drop in the coming weeks—but after bottoming out this winter, we expect gas prices will springboard toward the $4.00 per gallon mark next spring."
With 83.6 million holiday travelers nationwide taking the roadways between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, the motor club also expects a surge in aid.
Nationwide, AAA is bracing to:
- Respond to 194,000 requests for help with a dead battery, replacing 52,000 on the spot;
- Retrieve more than 104,000 sets of keys locked inside vehicles;
- Change more than 95,000 tires; and
- Perform more than 38,000 vehicle extrications during the year-end holiday period.
"Becoming stranded on the roadway can quickly dampen your holiday spirit," Robinson said. "Whether you are planning local day trips or long distance year-end holiday travel, having your vehicle properly maintained and prepared for the rigors of holiday driving will help ensure it gets you to your destination safely and without incident."
AAA advised motorists to keep their vehicle properly maintained and to follow their vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and make sure their vehicle is ready for the rigors of year-end holiday driving.
For more information, visit AAA's website.