Gasoline prices fall before Thanksgiving; crude oil prices remain stable

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 622 views 

According to the AAA, Arkansas motorists are paying the fourth-lowest average price for gasoline amid flat crude oil prices ahead of a long holiday weekend.

In Arkansas, the average price is $3.20 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, which is 7 cents less compared to last week and 15 cents more than this time last year. Nationwide, motorists are paying an average of $3.72 per gallon of regular unleaded, which is 8 cents less than last week and 31 cents more than this time last year.

The Arkansas average has reached a two-month low the week before 48.7 million Americans are expected to drive at least 50 miles for leisure this Thanksgiving. Prices have been trending down, and the decline can be attributed to the global cost of crude oil, the key ingredient of gasoline. The price of crude oil has flattened to a range of about $85 to $92 per barrel for several weeks.

“Barring any upheavals in the oil and gas market ahead of the busy Thanksgiving travel week, Arkansas drivers could see the lowest gas price averages since February, just prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said AAA spokesman Nick Chabarria. “Gas price averages have been dipping lower over the past few days resulting in Arkansas having the fourth-lowest gas price average of any state across the nation.”

On average, Texas motorists are paying the least at $3.07 per gallon of regular unleaded, while California motorists are paying the most at $5.37 a gallon.

AAA expects 54.6 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving. This is up 1.5% compared to the holiday last year and 98% of pre-pandemic volumes. This Thanksgiving is projected to be the third busiest for travel since AAA started tracking in 2000.

Most people will drive, and Thanksgiving road trips are expected to be up 0.4% this year, from 2021. Car travel remains 2.5% below 2019 levels.

Air travel is expected to be up nearly 8% over 2021, with 4.5 million Americans expected to fly to their holiday destinations. That’s an increase of more than 330,000 travelers and nearly 99% of the 2019 volume.

More than 1.4 million travelers are expected to go by bus, train or cruise ship this Thanksgiving. That’s up 23% from 2021 and 96% of the 2019 volume.

“With travel restrictions lifted and more people comfortable taking public transportation again, it’s no surprise buses, trains and cruises are coming back in a big way,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of travel for AAA. “Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush.”

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for INRIX, said travel times will peak on Wednesday nationally, but travelers should expect heavy congestion throughout the holiday weekend. INRIX recommended traveling early in the morning on Wednesday or before 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving and avoiding travel between 4 and 8 p.m. Nov. 25 to 27.