Lower gas prices are playing a key role as Montana residents are expected to travel in droves for this Christmas and New Year’s holiday season combined, according to the latest travel survey from AAA. The holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, December 23 through Sunday, January 3.

U.S. average gas prices dropped below $2 per gallon Monday morning for the first time since March 25, 2009, according to AAA. Today’s national average price of gas is $1.998 per gallon. AAA estimates that cheaper gas prices have saved Americans more than $115 billion on gasoline so far this year, which works out to more than $550 per licensed driver. Average gas prices in Montana are at $2.10, last year the average price was $2.30.

“Montana residents are conveying continued consumer optimism, availability of disposable income and the desire to get out of town for some holiday cheer and celebration,” said AAA MountainWest’s spokesperson, Anna O’Donnell said in a news release. “Lower gas prices are fueling travel plans as well for motorists, who make up the majority of travelers, making driving the preferred mode of transportation to reach holiday destinations.”

Nationwide, AAA projects more than 100 million people will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday festivities. That’s a 1.4 percent increase compared to last year.