Thanksgiving travel steady, record gasoline prices to blame
Motorists driving for holiday may be giving thanks for the recent downtrend in gasoline prices, but history will be broken as the national average will be the highest its ever been on Thanksgiving. GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan is estimating that the national average will sit at $3.43 per gallon on Thanksgiving, some 10 cents higher than it was in 2011. In Illinois, gasoline prices currently stand at an average of $3.51/g, compared to last Thanksgiving, when prices stood at an average of $3.41/g.
"Gasoline prices have continued their slow decline in the last week across a solid majority of the United States, with the national average sagging to its lowest level since this early summer," according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Even though consumers are seeing gasoline prices decline in most parts of the country, and we’re certainly thankful for that, the national average will remain higher than where it was a year ago,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
As pump prices have fallen, GasBuddy has asked surveyed motorists about their travel plans. Results from the poll of over 15,000 GasBuddy households showed some surprises. 16% of respondents in this year's poll indicated they would not me driving at all for holiday gatherings, up from 15% last year. 53% indicated they would be driving a similar amount compared to last year, up from 50% the year before. More notably, 18% of respondents said they would be driving less than last year, a drop of 4% from the previous poll, which showed 22% of motorists would be driving less. Overall, 8% of those surveyed said they would be driving slightly or significantly more than last year, down from 9% a year ago. The results of the poll indicate that drivers drove more last year, and are planning similar travels this year, as gasoline prices have trended lower.
“Overall, we believe more Americans will be hitting the road for this Thanksgiving Day compared to last year. Gasoline prices have come down over the last month, dramatically in some states, leading motorists to feel better about things- including driving the car to get to their destinations, ” added Gregg Laskoski, also an analyst with GasBuddy.com.