Travelers to pay highest holiday gasoline prices in 6 years

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Millions of Americans plan to take to the nation's highways for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend, and they will pay more to gas up before hitting the road.

According to AAA, of the 41 million Americans who will travel 50 miles or more, about 35 million will make their trips in their personal car. KSTP quotes Gail Weinholzer, Director of Public Affairs for AAA Minnesota, who said that will be the highest number of Fourth of July drivers since 2007.

She also said AAA finds gasoline prices are on the rise.

"The average today is $3.60 which is .20 cents more than a year ago today, yet it's .08 cents lower than the national average," Weinholzer said on Sunday. "When leaving Minnesota you'll find prices a bit more expensive, especially if you go to the east or west coast. If you go to the south, or southeast you'll find gas prices less expensive."

Fuel price tracking by MinnesotaGasPrices.com found that prices in Minnesota averaged $3.36 last year at this time. The average price for a gallon of gas in Minnesota on Monday was $3.58, according to the website. The national price was $3.67.

USA Today added that gas prices usually drop in the weeks leading up to the holiday but that hasn't happened this year because of higher crude oil costs related to the intensifying situation in Iraq.

KELO in Sioux Falls, South Dakota reports that means average gas prices for this Independence Day will be at their highest rate in six years.

The auto club does not expect higher prices at the pump to put a chill on holiday travel. "People are simply whipping out the plastic. Consumers who've been hesitant to add to their credit card balances in recent years are taking comfort from an improving employment picture and rising home values, and are willing to take on more debt," the story said.

WCCO's holiday travel story notes that rental car rates should remain the same as in 2013, while airfares should show a five percent decline from what travelers paid during last year's holiday.

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