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A drive to Grandma’s house for Christmas can cost you less than $2 per gallon of gas, or a lot more, depending upon where you live and where you are going. While cheaper gas has arrived in time for the holidays across the mid-section of the country, U.S. gas prices still hover closer to $3 per gallon in the central mountains and Chaffee County.

According to AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano, nearly one in five U.S. fueling stations have seen dramatic drops as we near the end of the year. As of early this week, some 31 states had at least one gas station selling gas for less than $2.00 per gallon, while on Tuesday, Dec. 18, the national average for gasoline was $2.37.

Some may conclude that the lower in altitude one drives, and the further east, the more the price drops.

An Interstate Highway drive east from Buena Vista on Wednesday, Dec. 19 showed the price for a gallon of gas drop from $2.76 per gallon on U.S. 285, to $2.14 per gallon in Denver, $2.03 per gallon in Salina, Kansas, $1.99 per gallon in Kansas City and an amazing $1.85 per gallon on the interstate to Columbia, Missouri.

This is quite a turn-around even from October, when the nation-wide average stood at $2.90. In the west, AAA reports that Californians are still paying, on average $3.40 per gallon. According to AAA, the highest recorded price in the country per gallon of gas was $4.11 per gallon, recorded on July 17, 2008.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) just announced that it is voluntarily cutting production to bolster prices. But any slow-down of the economy could further reduce gas prices; not good for OPEC, but it could be one bright hope for consumers looking for good news.

Odds are that Chaffee County residents planning to drive out, or down from the mountains, for the holidays are likely to come across cheaper gas. Visitors to the county can expect to fill up for less than locals are charged, if they stop before they reach Chaffee County. But the question becomes: when will such low, low prices reach Chaffee County?