Low gas prices encouraging more holiday spending - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Low gas prices encouraging more holiday spending

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - Gas prices have fallen for 89 consecutive days, according to AAA.

Nationally, gas prices average $2.38, and in Iowa, they are an even-lower $2.20. That's a full $0.91 cheaper than the prices a year ago, which were $3.11. 

That's great new for holiday travelers: AAA expects nearly 90 percent of the more than 98 million travelers this holiday season to be driving.

Those lower prices mean that people have nearly 4 percent more disposable income then they did at this time last year, according to AAA. Many eastern Iowans are taking advantage of that extra money this holiday season.

"I think money isn't quite as tight with things, so we're able to spend a little more on our friends and family," Colleen Havens said. She was one of many shopping at Kennedy Mall in Dubuque Tuesday.

The extra spending money has given Earl Alexander a chance to visit his grandson in Waterloo, among other things.

"And it's been a great opportunity to buy a gift for my girlfriend, and for Angie, and to get a picture from Santa Claus, so it really has helped us out," Alexander said.

Chris Poynter drove six hours from St. Cloud, Minnesota, to be home for the holidays. He said his truck uses a lot of gas, so it's been nice to have a little extra cash this week.

"Just getting gifts for the family and got a little extra spending money," Poynter said.

Lower gas prices have been great for many traveling during the holiday season.

Chris Noble brought his family of eight to Sundown Mountain from their home in Illinois, which is nearly 150 miles away.

"It's just nice to know we can travel and not think twice about it," Noble said. "It's been a pain in the butt this last year with how high it was. And it actually cramped our style with a lot of the things they wanted to do."

Alex Gutierrez works in Bellevue, and says the money he's saved with the lower gas prices will go to buying more Christmas presents for his loved ones.
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