This year, Americans should prepare to see the highest gas prices ever over Thanksgiving weekend – but that’s not deterring nearly 49 million from still hitting the road.
On Thanksgiving Day, the national average for gas is projected to be $3.68 per gallon – about 20 cents higher than last year’s Thanksgiving, according to a recent report by GasBuddy.
“It has been a dizzying year at the pump, with motorists likely feeling nauseous not from the eggnog, but from the roller coaster ride at the pump with record gasoline prices earlier this year, which have fallen significantly since mid-summer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Americans, however, are proving that while we’ll openly complain about high gas prices, most of us aren’t determined from taking to the highways to observe Thanksgiving with those that matter most to us, especially as precautions from the pandemic have eased .”
The last record-high for Thanksgiving gas prices was in 2012, with a national average of $3.44.
The price tag also depends on where you’re driving, according to Andrew Gross, spokesperson for AAA. Although the nationwide average is higher, there are about 13 states, like Texas, where some gas stations are cheaper than the average, he said.
On Wednesday, the national average clocked in at $3.74 but has been slowly but surely dropping, Gross added. Last month, the national average was $3.88.
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As many Americans experienced this past year, inflation has been causing most things to cost more, including gas prices, which were driven up by oil supply shortages and low refining capacity from Russia’s invasion on Ukraine. In June, the nationwide average price reached a record-breaking $5 for a gallon of gasoline. In some places, it remains costly to fill up your tank – in California on Wednesday, the average is $5.04 per gallon.
People seem to be grinning and bearing the higher cost of gas – and travel overall – because they’re ready to see friends and family after skipping out on past holidays during the pandemic. “This will be one of the busiest Thanksgiving travel periods we’ve ever seen,” Gross said.
Nearly all Thanksgiving travelers will go by car, Gross said, which “is not unusual, it’s kind of the nature of the holiday. It’s a five-day travel period so it’s not huge and it’s super family-oriented.”