Gas prices have dropped across South Dakota just in time for Holiday travel.
Christmas is right around the corner, but some people are already heading out for early family Christmas celebrations this weekend.
AAA expects 264,000 people will be driving across South Dakota this holiday season, a 1.8 percent increase from last year.
Those drivers will be happy to see mid-grade gasoline has finally dropped below $3.00 a gallon in Sioux Falls this week. Regular unleaded can be found for about $3.09 a gallon at most stations.
Most people can't remember the last time gas prices dropped below $3.00. Steve Berg with the South Dakota Office of Procurement Management believes January 2011 was actually the last time Sioux Falls saw gas for sale below the $3.00 mark.
Across the state, the average price for regular gas is $3.19—that's about 10 cents less than a week ago and around 8 cents less than last year according to gasbuddy.com statistics.
Not all gas in South Dakota is below three dollars. Rapid City is close at $3.03 for mid-grade gas. Pierre's lowest price is $3.45 and in Aberdeen, it's about $3.29 a gallon.
While many people wish prices could go even lower, Christmas travelers are happy to save any amount of money this time of year.
"We're leaving today and we'll be out there all weekend," said Richard Tweet.
Richard Tweet and his family are headed out to Rapid City for an early Family Christmas. He says any savings around the holidays are appreciated.
"Especially if you travel, you're always spending a lot of money, so it's nice when you can reach in and have a few dollars left," said Tweet.
"It's under 3, which is great, that is awesome driving back and forth especially in the Christmas season, I need to drive up north to see my family so its nice to know that it's a little bit lower," said Holiday Traveler Jes Quale.
Even though prices are headed down, Hy-Vee just started a program to help you save even more on fuel this holiday season.
"It definitely gives a little break, especially with this fuel saver program that helps too, it adds up as you get the groceries you need anyway," said Quale.
When Hy-Vee customers buy specially marked items each week, they can bank up gas discounts to get up to 20 gallons of gas for as low as a penny each gallon. So stocking up on some essentials this holiday season may actually help your Christmas travel cost a little less.
"I did use it today, I had 26 cents off…so I ended up paying just over $2.70 a gallon," said Quale.
"I had a customer yesterday that saved 1.68 a gallon," said Hy-Vee Store Director John Griesenbrock.
Griesenbrock says customers can bank all of their gas discounts for 30 days, allowing people to fill up for just a penny a gallon.
These discounts only add to today's falling gas prices, but many are skeptical that the low gas prices will stick around.
"I have a hard time believing it will stay this cheap, but enjoy it while you can," said Tweet.
Even if the price of gas does go up again, Hy-Vee's gas saver program is here to stay and help customers save some money on fuel throughout the year.
High gas prices or not, AAA does not expect gas prices to impact holiday travel. It's the holidays, so people are going to see their families no matter what—having lower prices at the pump is just an added benefit for everyone.
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