More Illinoisans on the road these holidays

With gas prices low, more Illinois drivers are expected to hit the roads this holiday season

November 20, 2012

(WBEZ/Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)

Illinois residents are hitting the roads more than they are flying this holiday season.

The roadside assistance agency, AAA, projects that over 2,000,000 people in Illinois will be traveling this year, the majority of them by car. Only 170,000 travelers are expected to fly. 

Patrick Dehaan is the senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, an online gasoline information site. He said lower gas prices make traveling by car more affordable.

“We have seen that as gas prices have come down, there has been more interest in taking cars instead of flying,” said Dehaan. “Lower jet fuel prices haven’t necessary translated into lower ticket prices at least yet.”

Illinois gas prices are lower than last year averaging $3.65 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.

Dehaan said gas prices will remain stable throughout Christmas. This is partly due to cheaper costs to make gasoline and a drop in demand with cooler weather.  

"The recipe for the drop in prices is thanks to not only a switch over to cheaper winter gasoline, but generally a drop in demand that generally accompanies the cooler weather.”

But Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service, a source of petroleum pricing information nationwide, said this drop in demand is also due to economic factors.

“If you have high unemployment and yet you have uncertainties and worries in the financial markets, that would tend to depress the price of crude and it would tend to depress consumer behavior so we’d use less gasoline,” said Kloza.

If oil prices were to go up, it would only apply for jet, diesel and heating oil prices. “But not higher gasoline prices in the next 60 days,” added Kloza.