Low gas prices lend holiday relief

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- It's a nice belated Christmas gift for drivers.

Some gas stations in Alabama hit $1.29 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.

"We're spending a lot of money on Christmas and New Year's.  At least we can save some money on the gas," exclaimed one motorist in Phenix City.

Prices are also dropping in the Montgomery area.  Sunday, motorists found fuel for $1.49 on average.  That's a little more than half the average last year.

For millions of holiday travelers out on the road, the price break means fewer highway headaches.

"The further north you go, it's more expensive, too.  But now that it's cheaper, we can come down more often," said Virginia resident Patrick Stephens.

What's curbing the cost?

Station owners say the economy and low oil prices are the main factors, but local competition also plays a big part.

"It's like a domino effect. One [station] changes and then, you go down the street, it will go left and right and will catch everybody in that whole area," explained ENTEC General Manager Jim White.

No matter the reason, drivers say less impact on their wallet makes for a happy holiday season.

"Pumping 15 dollars and filling my car up?  That's great.  I haven't done that in a long time," said one motorist.

It's a gift that keeps on giving and shows no signs of stopping.

"I've talked to several people in the business around the Southeast.  I don't think we've seen any end.  I think it's going to continue to go down some more," White explained.