Gas prices could be below $3/gallon by Christmas

Gas prices at this Sheetz in Fredericksburg are below $3 per gallon. Photo: Horace Holmes

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WJLA) – Drivers are filling up their tanks with smiles on their faces for the first time in a long time.

"I came through earlier and it was $3.03 a gallon -- and when we just came back through it was $2.99 a gallon, so we stopped, "says Connie Demers.

The price of $2.99 a gallon stopped a lot of folks and brought them into this Sheetz gas station in Fredericksburg on Thursday. This is one of the first gas stations in the D.C. area to drop prices this low.

When we asked a driver about the last time he saw gas prices this low, he said: "Probably when I was 18. I am 22 now."

Actually, gas prices have been over $3 a gallon for more than a thousand days. Seeing this price made customers absolutely giddy today.

"It was $3.06 yesterday and we drove by today," said Tobie Matney, who jumped on the chance to fill up her tank when she saw it.

So gas prices are falling fast -- but why?

Oil industry analysts say there are four major reasons:

1. High supply and low demand

2. A huge drop in driving since August. According to AAA, Americans have driven 25 billion miles less per month since the summer

3. There wasn't a major hurricane like Sandy, which damaged refineries last year

4. The price of crude oil has dropped to under $100 a gallon

But despite these reasons, the customers at the pump don't really care why -- they just love the price.

With prices falling faster than anyone expected and no end in sight, it could mean potentially huge numbers of travelers that will be hitting the roads for the holiday season.