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LOW gasoline prices fuel holiday travel plans


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Many Oklahomans and motorists nationwide will be on the road during the Fourth of July holiday, fueled by ever-lowering gasoline prices.

The American Automobile Association said 36.6 million holiday travelers are expected nationwide this week, 300,000 more than last year. The average price nationwide for regular unleaded gasoline was $1.52 per gallon, down 20 cents from a month ago.

The news is even better in Oklahoma. Statewide, gasoline prices fell 2 cents Monday to $1.29 for regular _ the lowest price since March 26. Oklahoma continued to have the least expensive U.S. prices by far for premium grades.

Oklahoma City gasoline prices are the lowest in the nation, according to AAA. The average price of $1.22 per gallon is a drop of 44 cents from last month.

``Since I've been tracking prices, I've never seen anything like that and I've been doing this 14 years,'' said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA-Oklahoma. ``Generally, prices go up quickly but they usually don't come down like this.''

About 550,000 Oklahomans are expected to travel the state's highways during the Fourth of July holiday.

``Because the Fourth is on a Wednesday this year, a lot of families are taking off the 5th and 6th as well and then they have themselves a nice little five-day weekend,'' Mai said.

AAA said towns and rural areas lead the list of popular holiday destinations with 23 percent of the travel volume, followed by cities at 22 percent, and oceans and beaches, 20 percent.

Those driving on the Fourth should be prepared for heavy traffic. Many drivers will be in a rush and some may be drinking.

``The highways are going to be popular places during the next week,'' Mai said.

At Will Rogers World Airport, spokeswoman Karen Carney said bookings were strong for the weekends on both sides of the Fourth, indicating that many people are taking the whole week off.

Bookings for the holiday week are smaller than usual, Carney said, with most airlines flying a reduced schedule on the Fourth.
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