Opportune on CBS Evening News

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DALLAS — The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates a record 44.2 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles over the long weekend.

The vast majority, 37.5 million, will be driving. These road trips are being fueled by cheaper gas.

Maria Martinez is driving from Texas to Kansas for Independence Day weekend. But this year, filling up her gas tank isn’t draining her wallet.

“Are you noticing that you’re saving money?” CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca asked.

“I just saw it right now, it was $1.84. I haven’t seen that. Today was the first day I saw that,” Martinez responded.

Nationwide gas prices are the lowest they’ve been all year and a 12-year holiday low. AAA says the national average for gas is $2.24 a gallon — down a nickel from last year.

South Carolina has the cheapest prices at the pump at a $1.91, while Mississippi and Missouri drivers are paying just under $2.

California has the highest price in the continental U.S. at almost $3 a gallon.

“Gas prices are directly correlated to the price of crude and so, as the price of crude has come down, you’ve seen the price of gasoline drop with it,” said Drew Lockard, managing director of Opportune, an oil and gas consulting firm in Dallas.

Nova Pittman uses an app to keep track of how many miles he’s driven in his truck. When the Texas pastor isn’t saving souls, he’s trying to save a few bucks at the pump.

“Yeah, I was like $50-$60-$70 and now I’m in the $40-$50 range every time I fill it up, so it’s big savings for me,” Pittman says.

In Texas, the average price is just over $2 a gallon, but AAA says more than half of stations are selling it for under $2 a gallon. Experts say low gas prices could stick around for a few more months.