Texans paying average of $3.20 for gas as July 4th holiday approaches

This week as Texans prepare to travel during the 4th of July holiday, families are paying about $45 to fill-up a 14-gallon tank which is the size of a typical family vehicle. This is about $4 less than what 4th of July travelers were paying at this time last year for the same tank. The average for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.20, which is eight cents less than last week, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. Nationwide drivers are paying an average of $3.37 for a gallon of regular unleaded which is 17 cents more than the average in Texas. In the Lone Star State, drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average at $3.37, while drivers in Beaumont are paying the least at $3.14. Drivers in Sweetwater are paying about $3.19 for a gallon of regular unleaded.Concern about the global economy, particularly the debt crisis in Europe and a slowdown in growth in large economies such as Brazil, India, and China, continues to act as a drag on expectations for future oil demand, putting downward pressure on prices.Consumers are reaping the benefits of the recent steady decline in gas prices as we enter the middle of the summer driving season. AAA Texas forecasts that lower gas prices will help motivate about 3 million Texans to travel next week for the July 4th holiday, and of the 3 million total Texans taking a trip, 2.5 million will be driving to their destination.  Texans are expected to travel an average distance of 987 miles round-trip. Based on responses to the recent AAA Texas Fourth Annual Summer Travel Poll, the top five summer destinations for Texans are:1.San Antonio (16 percent)2.Galveston (16 percent)3. Austin (14 percent)4. Dallas/Fort Worth (13 percent)5. A national park in Texas, i.e. Big Bend National Park (11 percent)"Many families are taking advantage of lower gas prices this summer vacation season and are traveling to a variety of destinations both in and out of the state,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Sarah Schimmer.  “Travelers will be spending time with family and friends this 4th of July. On average, families in Texas are expected to spend an average of $732 total over the 4th of July holiday.” For families still trying to finalize their 4th of July travel gas budget, visit: www.fuelcostcalculator.com. By entering your starting point, destination, as well as the make, model and year of your vehicle, you can get an estimated gas budget based on real-time gas prices.Prior to leaving for any road trip, especially in the summer temperatures we’ve been experiencing over the last week, consumers should be sure to keep up with regularly scheduled car maintenance. To help consumers identify quality auto repair shops that can assist in the maintenance and repair of their vehicles, AAA offers the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service. AAA-approved repair facilities meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can look for the Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA-approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair.