If you’re planning on packing up your car for holiday travel, there’s good news; gas prices are at their lowest point of the year. Last week, the AAA said that a gallon of gas averaged about $3.25 nationwide, and they also reported that prices will continue to drop as we approach the New Year.

Gas prices fell below $3 in Missouri, which have the lowest prices in the country, while Hawaii has the most expensive gas at nearly $3.98 per gallon.

Lower gas prices should be a welcome relief to holiday shoppers. “AAA predicts what people don't spend at gas stations could free up money for more spending on presents, dining and entertainment,” says CNN.

Even though gas prices are at the lowest they've been in 2012, that doesn't mean gas is inexpensive. Time writes, “These prices may seem cheap, and they are undeniably cheaper than what drivers had quickly gotten used to paying throughout most of 2012. But from a historical perspective, these prices aren’t really cheap at all.”

Gas prices this holiday season are more expensive compared to the same time last year. “Despite a national average that has declined for 25 consecutive days and 64 of the previous 70, today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day,” says AAA. “This continues the now 120-day streak of daily record prices that began on August 20.”

Still, sliding gas prices are coming at the perfect time, since the AAA expects a quarter of Americans to be traveling at least 50 miles or more this holiday season. Ninety percent of those travelers will be hitting the road. Despite lower gas prices, hotel and car rental rates are up this year.

With so many travelers this holiday season, USA Today suggests being patient, planning for delays due to road construction, traffic or weather and checking weather updates for your destination while on the road.

Shopping for a new car or SUV? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. You can also find the best local prices in the area by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Happy Holidays!