Gas prices are hovering at an all-time low for the year heading into the Independence Day weekend and drivers in Mississippi are seeing some of the cheapest prices in the country.
According to AAA, the national average for Friday, June 30th was $2.23 per regular gallon of gas. At this time last year, the average price was $2.28/gallon.
In Mississippi, drivers are seeing average gas prices a quarter cheaper, with a current average of $1.98/gallon, per AAA. A year ago, the average price per gallon was $2.04.
WDAM 7 found gas for even cheaper around the Pine Belt, with some stations along U.S. 49 with regular gas for $1.85 and $1.83/gallon.
"It helps me out pretty good, it's cheaper gas and I've got a long way to go, I can save some money," said one man filling up his truck in Jones County.
According to AAA, Mississippi ranks fourth in the country for the least expensive average gas prices. South Carolina has the cheapest gas in the country, followed by Oklahoma and Alabama. Missouri rounds out the top five.
February of this year was the last time the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was this low nationally. AAA said record refinery rates, high gasoline and crude inventory, and less-than-favorable demand this year are among the contributing factors causing the downward price trend.
For a look at the lowest gas prices in your area, click here.
With the lower price of gas and extended holiday weekend, Mississippi Highway Patrol is expecting a lot of drivers across the state.
Master Sergeant Brent Barfield said troopers will be out in full force for an extended enforcement period that started at 6 p.m. on Friday and will go until midnight on Tuesday. Barfield is urging all drivers to slow down, pay attention to other vehicles and buckle up.
"Cell phone usage, just leave them alone," said Barfield. "If you have to communicate, let a passenger communicate for you. If it's that important, find a safe place to pull off and conduct your communications and get back on your way."
Mississippi Highway Patrol issued over 5,000 citations over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, with almost 250 involving seat belt or child restraint violations. With a new state law in Mississippi going into effect Saturday, everyone in a car has to have a seat belt on, including those in the back seat. A driver could face a $25 fine for every unbelted passenger.
"Make sure you pre-plan if you have the intentions of consuming any kind of alcoholic beverages, have your designated driver," Barfield said. "We are shooting for a fatality free weekend again and that is always the goal."
If you are traveling and need assistance, you can always dial *-H-P on your cell phone. A trooper will be at your location for assistance as soon as possible.