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travel300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 12/17/2008 - 5:59pm.

Gas prices are way down compared to just a few months ago, but analysts say that's not motivating some people to travel for the holidays. AAA said our weak economy will keep people closer to home and off the road. Carmen Sanders of Maryland said, "Every time I go to the tanks I'm happier." Carmen loves the gas prices these days. She is filling up for $1.59 a gallon. “We were excited to find that they were much lower here than they were in Maryland or when we left Maryland,” she added. Sanders drove to the Tar Heel state to spend some time at her beach house. Next stop is Louisiana for the weekend. Despite the sour economy, Sanders still plans to travel over the holidays. In 2007, more than a million North Carolinians were on the highway around Christmas, but AAA says the recession will cause fewer drivers to hit the road this year; a continuing trend from Thanksgiving, Labor Day and the 4th of July. The economic slowdown is keeping motorists like Mandy Bossie close to home this Christmas. “Just trying to cut back on expenses, and mostly everybody is coming here,” she said. But not everyone is letting the economy keep them from their holiday traditions. Rayfield Robinson of Wilmington said, “Not really. Because gas went down so much, it really shouldn't be a problem.” Despite the economy and AAA’s predictions, Sanders believes people will travel. “It's just from my observations people are encouraged to get out and about and add some joy to their life. Hopefully they'll travel at Christmas,” she said. Last year around Christmas, the state average for unleaded regular gas was $2.95, this year it's $1.62. AAA will not have official travel predictions until later this week, but it also expects air travel will be down because of the economy, saying some airlines are offering fewer flights.

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