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Summer travel industry prediction: Full flights, low fares, reasonable gas

May 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Americans could get a break at the pump just in time for the Memorial Day getaway. After warning of a sharp rise in prices, experts now say gas is expected to be cheaper this summer.

The government and AAA confirmed that gas prices are projected to be lower than expected. On Tuesday, analysts slashed its forecast for average gas prices to $3.79 per gallon for the summer driving season. That's down from an initial estimate of $3.95 and below 2008's record average of $3.80. Analysts said that drivers will be spending about $10.7 billion less for gas this summer than expected.

A recent disappointing jobs report and the weak economy in Europe have forced the price of oil to drop. Oil is down nearly 12 percent since peaking near $110 per barrel in February. As oil prices fall, it becomes cheaper for refineries to make gasoline and other fuels, and some of that savings eventually gets passed along in the form of cheaper pump prices.

Planning to fly to your summer vacation destination? Experts are predicting full flights, thanks in part to a record number of people traveling internationally and an improving economy in the U.S., according to the industry trade association Airlines for America.

The good news for travelers is that airfares are not expected to climb this summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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