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The surprising stat on gas that's leading to record-breaking travel
For the first time since March 25, 2009, the average price per gallon of gas is under $2 nationwide. That's quite the gift for holiday travelers. - photo by Payton Davis
Groans at the gas station pump might be less common than in the aisles of the grocery stores this holiday season.

The reason?

Gasoline is now cheaper than a gallon of milk, Jordan Weissmann wrote for Slate.

And Brad Tuttle detailed for Time another stat that makes falling gas prices a big deal.

"As of Monday, according to AAA, the national average officially stands at $1.998," Time wrote. "It's only 1.5 (cents) lower than the national average of a week ago, but because it's below the (mentally) all-important $2 mark and because the last time prices were this low was way back on March 25, 2009, or 2,462 days ago dipping under that threshold feels like a very big deal."

AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said the drop came at just about the most convenient time.

"Drivers across the country are celebrating the historic return of cheaper gas prices," AAA's release quoted Doney as saying. "The lowest gas prices in nearly seven years are a holiday gift that few consumers could have imagined when gasoline was $4 a gallon."

Projections by AAA indicated the record-breaking travel patterns are expected in part because of the cheap gas in the next week. Luz Lazo wrote for The Washington Post that 100 million people will be "making a journey 50 miles or more from home for the Christmas-New Year's period" for the first time ever.

The Post's report stated 91.3 million of those are opting to travel by car, with 5.8 million flying.

A small portion plan to get where they're going by train, bus or boat, AAA noted.

So with driving the primary mode of transportation during the Christmas bustle, what are travelers to do to stay safe on the roads?

Katherine LaGrave wrote for Cond Nast Traveler that though drivers can't choose the weather they trek through, they can dictate how they maneuver in the midst of potential storms with a bit of planning.

"With inclement weather striking anywhere and anytime, it's best to manage what you can control," the Traveler's report read. "A day or so before you're slated to leave, check the tire pressure, oil, washer fluid, windshield wipers and all of the lights in your car. Pack an emergency kit, or update the one you have: bottled water, nonperishable snacks, jumper cables and warm blankets are just a few of the items you should have."

Pavement-bound travelers should also note the prominence of drivers making poor decisions during the holidays, The Post reported.

A survey by AAA revealed 97 percent of drivers find driving under the influence of alcohol unacceptable yet 1 in 5 who drink sometimes said they've driven when "they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the last year."

"As we celebrate the holiday season, AAA urges travelers to be cautious about their safety and the safety of everyone sharing the roadways," The Post quoted Doney as saying. "Ninety-seven percent of licensed drivers consider it unacceptable to drive when they may have had too much to drink, yet there is an average of one alcohol-impaired driving death every 53 minutes."
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