BOSTON — Thanksgiving gas prices will be at their highest since 2014. While it may lead to some complaints — 30% of Americans saying high prices are impacting their plans — it won’t slow them down much, with a 7% rise in motorists on the road for Thanksgiving versus last year.
GasBuddy projects the national average gas price this Thanksgiving will be $2.56 per gallon, a penny higher than last year. The national average has seen a smaller decline since October than usual, part of the reason for the higher prices this Thanksgiving versus last year. While prices have averaged a 10-cent decline from October to mid-November over the last decade, this year has seen a decline of just 5 cents over the same time frame.
“Change is hard, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, many things this year won’t be changing. First, expect the mediocre Detroit Lions and their fans, including me, to suffer for a third straight Thanksgiving Day. Second, expect the national average price of gasoline to be in the $2.50s for the third straight Thanksgiving. And third, expect average gas prices to drop between now and Christmas, giving motorists something extra to be thankful for,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
According to GasBuddy’s Annual Holiday Travel Survey, 30% of participants said high gas prices were impacting their travel plans, a 2% decrease from last year. 2019 is expected to see a 7% increase in travelers on the road for Thanksgiving compared to 2018, with more than half of drivers having 1-2 passengers in the car with them. Nearly one fifth of drivers expect to spend 4-6 hours in the car.
Getting ahead of the holiday expenses, more than two-thirds of consumers will be using a loyalty or cash back program to save money or earn rewards when they fill-up for their Thanksgiving trip.
The top considerations when choosing which station to stop at are 1) location 2) the price of gasoline and 3) the brand of gasoline. A shift in travel sentiment compared to last year: drivers are less concerned about the brand of fuel and putting more emphasis on location and price.
GasBuddy offers several money-saving tips for motorists on the road this holiday season:
- The Day of the Week Matters. GasBuddy has analyzed gas price data year-over-year and found that Monday offers the lowest average gas price in 30 states, making it the best day to fill-up. The day with the most expensive average gas prices: Friday.
- Don’t Drive Like a Maniac. Aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration and braking as they can cost drivers up to an extra $477 per year in fuel consumption. Drivers in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Sacramento, Calif. are the most aggressive drivers in the country according to a recent GasBuddy study.
*Thanksgiving travel period is defined as Wednesday to Sunday during the week of Thanksgiving.
GasBuddy’s Annual Holiday Travel Survey was taken by 500 respondents Oct. 1 – 4, 2019.
- Gas station choice rankings: GasBuddy
- Percentage drivers road Thanksgivinggb: GasBuddy
- Gas prices: Shutterstock