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Gas prices drop in time for Independence Day travel

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 03 2013 04:13:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2013 04:46:37 PM CDT

Holiday travel picked up speed Wednesday as millions of Americans hit the roads to celebrate Independence Day.

Holiday travel picked up speed Wednesday as millions of Americans hit the roads to celebrate Independence Day.

For some drivers in Berks County, it was a scary start on the roads. A woman was loaded into an ambulance after a chain-reaction crash on Route 61 in Leesport.

Traffic came to a halt at Shackamaxon Street around 2 p.m. after police said a Jeep, headed north on 61, t-boned a Mitsubishi and sent it into another vehicle.

Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt, but it was a rough start to what is expected to be a busy time on the roads.

"Yesterday, the traffic was not a big problem, but today it's pretty heavy with an awful lot of trucks out there," said Tim Connell, who was headed to New York City to see his daughter.

AAA predicted 40.8 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles to celebrate the holiday this year. Officials blamed the nearly one percent decrease from last year on the calendar. With the holiday falling on Thursday, it's one less day for the long weekend.

"I had friends advise me that I shouldn't travel on this weekend, but I like to take the risk," said Sherry Kloss, who was headed home to Pittsburgh to spend the 4th with her 92-year-old mother. "We celebrate together, our country America the beautiful."

Gas prices are down from last month, but some people curbed their driving habits in what is still considered a tough economy.

Bill and Paula Phipps did not pay attention to the price at the pump, and they did not let anything put the brakes on their trip to see family in Connecticut.

"It's been fine. It's been a little wet, but no problems whatsoever traffic-wise," said Phipps, who lives in Virginia.

AAA said gas prices should remain stable for the holiday, but prices could rise into July as summer travel heats up.