4 reasons gas could drop to $2 per gallon or less

Published: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 @ 6:37 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 @ 6:37 PM

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Drivers could soon see big dips in gas prices across the United States, according to oil industry analysts - as low as $2 or less.

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The expected drop in gas prices is due to the convergence of several factors:

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  • Iran’s oil: Following Tuesday’s historic nuclear agreement, Iran’s oil will be allowed to flow into countries where it was previously blocked due to sanctions. 
  • Iranian production will increase: Even more oil will flow from Iran next year, as Iran upgrades its infrastructure to meet new demand.
  • Supply is up: Iran’s oil will add to what is already considered a glut of oil on the world market.
  • Demand is down: Blame it on economic problems in Europe and China, is also putting downward pressure on gas prices.

Gas prices vary widely, of course. While the national average is $2.78 a gallon, the average in Los Angeles is 4.20 a gallon — a big jump from last week, when it was $3.55. The Southern California market is quirky, analysts say

>> Check the average gas price in your city and state here.

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Phones safer for drivers than in-car systems, local AAA says

Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 @ 12:37 PM


            I-75 is one to two major Interstates running though the Miami Valley that will see increased traffic during the holiday period. This view is looking south near the State Route 4 interchange in May. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
I-75 is one to two major Interstates running though the Miami Valley that will see increased traffic during the holiday period. This view is looking south near the State Route 4 interchange in May. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Using a phone to call and navigate when on the road may be safer than using built-in systems in cars for travelers this holiday weekend, AAA officials say.

Fourth of July travel numbers are expected to shatter records, AAA Public and Government Affairs Manager Cindy Antrican said. The organization expects two million Ohioans to travel for the holiday, with 1.7 million using cars.

“This is probably the biggest increase in Fourth of July traffic that we’ve seen out on the road,” AAA Senior Public and Government Affairs Specialist Kara Hitchens said.

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Many of those will need to use navigation or take a call while on the road. According to a recently released AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, using phone systems is generally safer than using built-in car systems to do that.

The Foundation found that the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems are safer than native safer than car systems when it comes to selecting and programming audio and calling and dialing.

Setting up navigation, however, rated as highly distracting among all three systems. Antrican said that it’s best to set up navigation systems before travelers leave their driveways.

“Although you can use these systems while you’re driving, it doesn’t mean you should,” Antrican said. “It’s OK to use navigation, it’s safe to use navigation, but don’t try to program it while you’re driving.”

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The two phone systems still distracted drivers for long periods of time, according to the study. Drivers took up to 33 seconds to complete a navigation task on phones, compared with 48 seconds on in-car systems. Hitchens said drivers can travel a distance of up to three football fields at just around 25 miles per hour in that time.

While programs like Google Maps can help drivers find their destination, programs that let drivers order coffee or create unnecessary distractions should be avoided, Hitchens said.

Not all of the native car systems were equally distracting, according to the study. Some, like the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, created only a moderate demand of attention from drivers. Others, like the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Limited, created very high demand, the study said.

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“It’s not one size fits all,” Antrican said. “There’s different levels of distraction with any of the systems.”

The AAA hopes the study will encourage automobile makers to work with technology companies to eliminate distractions. Even moderate levels are still too high, Antrican said. She said ideally the systems will eventually become only as distracting as a built-in radio.

“They do a great job at designing safe vehicles,” Antrican said of automobile manufacturers. “So many strides have been made in terms of safety. We’ve got to get those other support things safer as well.”

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Southern Living names this resort best in the South

Published: Sunday, June 10, 2018 @ 8:47 AM

Rocking chairs are lined up outside for guests to relax while enjoying a view of the Smoky Mountains outside the Blackberry Farm main house in Walland, Tenn., on June 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
WADE PAYNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rocking chairs are lined up outside for guests to relax while enjoying a view of the Smoky Mountains outside the Blackberry Farm main house in Walland, Tenn., on June 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)(WADE PAYNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Southern Living recently polled its readers to discover their picks for the top places to visit in the SouthBlackberry Farm, in Walland, Tennessee, south of Knoxville, took home the top prize.

>> Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

Southern Living noted, "Blackberry Farm emanates hospitality, from its farm-to-table offerings to the porches on guest cottages."

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Blackberry Farm is a luxury hotel and resort situated on a 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains.

There is a spa, brewery and working farm on the property. The resort offers plenty of wine and dining options, musical entertainment, workshops and more. 

Activities include horseback riding, archery, fly fishing, hiking and paintball.

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One Facebook reviewer noted, "Have traveled quite well in my 50+ years, but Blackberry Farm stands out as the BEST of all. They anticipate your every wish and deliver it with cordial efficiency. Understated, approachable elegance. Go there, go there, go there! It is transforming."

Southern Living honored The Barn at Blackberry Farm by awarding it the best restaurant in Tennessee, too.

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Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 8:57 AM

Florida Beach Named the Best in the Nation

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

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Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

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How to plan your perfect weekend in Asheville, North Carolina 

Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 @ 2:59 PM

We've got your weekend in Asheville planned out for you.

Are you planning your ideal summer getaway? You don’t have to fly to the Caribbean to have your perfect summer trip. This news organization has chosen several destinations that are easy to get to for a long weekend trip. From Hocking Hills to Cincinnati, we’ve got the best places to eat, see and visit on a budget this summer. 

Spend a weekend tucked away in the mountains. Asheville, located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is a funky town with amazing art galleries, live music and a thriving foodie scene. The drive from Ohio to Asheville is a little more than six hours.

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Here’s what to do in Asheville:

1. Go for a hike 

Hiking in Asheville is the perfect way to spend a morning. Head to Chimney Rock State Park, where you’ll walk up flights of stairs to see a stunning view of the mountains. You can also hike to the summit of Table Rock Mountain, catching panoramic views of the soaring mountaintop in Linville Gorge. Another option is the 1.5-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain. The hike climbs about 700 ft. in elevation. 

2. Browse a bookstore 

Pick out a book from Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe. The independent bookstore has organic coffee, author events and a cozy vibe. Battery Park Book Exchange is another perfect place for bibliophiles. Readers can browse thousands of books while sipping on fine wine or Champagne. The used bookstore and Champagne bar is located in the heart of Asheville. 

3. Visit the Biltmore Estate

Explore the 8,000-acre beautiful Biltmore Estate built by George Vanderbilt. Take a rooftop tour of the grounds to see a birds-eye view of the estate for $25. The Biltmore also has special wine, cheese and chocolate tastings, or experience an elegant dining experience. The Biltmore has special food events like the “Biltmore Brewing Beer Dinner” or the “Enchanted Tea at Vanderbilt Room at The Inn.” 

4. Drink a beer 

Asheville is packed with breweries. Grab a beer at Wedge Brewing or sip on a cherry stout at The Lab. The Amazing Pubcycle, Asheville’s pedal wagon, will take you on a tour of some of the city’s best breweries. You can even get beer ice cream at The Hope Ice Cream Cafe

5. Treat your taste buds 

Asheville is a foodie paradise. Order some light Caribbean food and a margarita at Salsa’s and sit outside in the sun. Some other best restaurants: Buxton Hall Barbeque and Red Ginger Dim Sum. For brunch, head over the Mayfel’s for Louisiana-inspired fare or Biscuit Head for house-made jams, killer biscuits and amazing 

grit bowl specials. Don’t forget to grab some sugary goodness at Vortex Donuts before you go. 

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