The good news is you can get to grandmother’s a lot cheaper this Thanksgiving as gas prices are at seven-year lows. The bad news is you will have to share crowded roads and airports with lots of fellow travelers, as this year is also projected to be one of the busiest Thanksgiving weekends for travel in almost a decade.
Continued drop in U.S. gas prices means more Americans traveling
According to a November 25th report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, retail regular-grade gasoline prices in the U.S. are still dropping, hitting an average of $2.09 per gallon as of November 23rd. That price is 73 cents lower than this time last year, and the lowest gas price entering a Thanksgiving holiday weekend since 2008.
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The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is almost always one of the busiest travel times of the year, and the vast majority of that travel is by car. The American Automobile Association estimates that at least 46.9 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their home, with close to 42 million people driving to their destinations. The estimated number of miles that will be traveled is up slightly from last year, and the 46.9 million total estimated number of travelers this Thanksgiving weekend (November 25th through 29th) is the biggest figure since 2007.
Using data for selected major U.S. metropolitan areas recently surveyed by the EIA, the report also noted that retail gasoline prices as of November 23rd ranged from a low of $1.83/g in Houston, Texas to $2.79/g in Los Angeles, California.
U.S. EIA projects gas prices will keep declining
Also of note, the EIA’s November 2015 Short-Term Energy Outlook anticipates that the average retail price of regular gasoline in the United States will keep dropping for the rest of the year and should slip to an average of $2.06/g in December (good news for those with Christmas holiday travel plans).
The EIA’s forecast of annual average U.S. retail gas prices is $2.43/g in 2015 and $2.33/g in 2016, far less than the $3.36/g average price in 2014.