Good news for those traveling next week. Oil prices have fallen considerably which is impacting gas prices. Currently, the national average gas price is $2.68 a gallon. While this is higher than the price drivers paid last Thanksgiving, the national average was $2.52 a gallon, it’s still lower than this year’s high of $2.97 a gallon last Memorial Day.
“With prices falling so noticeably the last couple weeks, I’d expect more last minute trips to happen,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at online fuel price provider GasBuddy.
AAA reports more than 54 million Americans will be traveling next week during Thanksgiving. This is the most reported since 2005. They project that Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this year which is a 4.8% increase from last year. For the people planning to travel by car, INRIX, a global analytics company is predicting travel times in the most congested cities could be as much as four times longer than the average time it takes to get to drivers end destination.
“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth, “said Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”
2018 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast:
- Automobiles: 48.5 million this Thanksgiving, that 5% more than 2017.
- Planes: the largest growth is by air, at 5.4%, with 4.27 million people traveling.
- Trains, Buses and Cruise Ships: we will see an increase of 1.4%, with a total of 1.48 million.
Based on historical information, INRIX along with AAA, predict drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion Thanksgiving week during the early evening commute. Travel times are projected to increase on Monday. San Francisco, New York City and Boston will see the largest delays in the country, with nearly quadruple normal drive times.
Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX says, “Thanksgiving is one of busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”
Gas prices have fallen more since the beginning of October by more than 20 cents and may continue to drop. Drivers are saving roughly $95 million a day since then thanks to lower gas prices. DeHaan, does expect to see gas prices continue to fall over the next couple weeks and could rebound right before Christmas and New Year’s.