Gas Prices Go Up As Christmas Travel Period Begins

AAA predicts record number of people will travel between Dec. 23 and New Year’s Day.

Drivers may have noticed a sudden increase in gasoline prices as 2017 nears its end. AAA’s daily survey of 300 Michigan service stations found that the average price of regular unleaded fuel was about $2.59 per gallon as of Dec. 23. That’s 16 cents higher than it was two days earlier.

AAA Michigan Public Affairs Manager Susan Hiltz says that’s not the usual trend.


“Typically going into the holiday weekend, we see a little bit of a drop,” she says. “Folks might be driving to their destinations, but they’re not driving for work, so they might not be driving quite as much.”

The auto club says 2017 could be the busiest Christmas holiday travel period since it started keeping statistics. It estimates more than 107 million people will be traveling between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1, 2018. Hiltz says travel volume will also be high in Michigan.

“Over 3.5 million people are going to be traveling (in Michigan)”, she says. “That’s good news for the economy, good news for the travel industry.”

While most Americans will travel by automobile, many will fly. The recent power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights and stranded passengers. Hiltz says anyone flying over the Christmas holiday should be prepared to change their plans if their flights are delayed or canceled.

“Find out if you can go to a different airline, or if you need to stay at a hotel overnight, if they’re going to provide vouchers for you,” Hiltz says. She also recommends traveling at off-peak times to minimize delays.

Click on the audio player to hear the conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.



  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.