Travel is spiking as gas prices keep dipping, AAA forecasts

Gas prices should continue to dive if winter norms prevail, AAA analysts predicted Monday.

"The seasonal pattern of less driving due to shorter days and crummy weather, combined with a lower oil cost, is driving gas prices lower," AAA spokeswoman Molly Hart said in a statement.

"If this trend continues, many states could see their average prices fall below $3 a gallon by early next year."

Gas price averages were $3.55 a gallon in the Chicago region Monday compared to $4.41 a month ago.

A sampling of suburban stations showed $3.14 a gallon at a Thorntons station in Elk Grove Village, $3.27 at a BP in Downers Grove and $3.19 at a Shell in Mundelein, according to GasBuddy.

The decline is good news for the 5.8 million Illinoisans expected to travel more than 50 miles from home over the holidays, AAA reported. That's 213,000 more than in 2021, a 4% increase.

Most travelers, or 5.3 million, will be driving, while 324,056 people will fly.

The most congested day for drivers will be Tuesday, Dec. 27, traffic analyst INRIX said, with the inbound Eisenhower Expressway forecast to have a busy afternoon rush.

Airports will be more crowded over the holiday season with 7.2 million Americans flying, a 14% spike from a year ago. Pent-up demand related to the pandemic is trumping higher ticket costs, AAA experts said.

"If the distance is not reasonable to drive, more people are flying to maximize the time spent at their destination," said Debbie Haas, AAA's vice president of travel.

If you haven't booked your trip yet, here are some tips from AAA:

• Consider flying on Christmas; fares should be cheaper with more flight options.

• Opt for a nonstop flight to avoid issues with connections.

• Travel in the morning as later flights have a higher chance of cancellations and delays.

The next of the big moves at O'Hare: Delta about to shift to Terminal 5

What's on the next secretary of state's agenda

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.