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Inflation-adjusted average U.S. gasoline prices ahead of Thanksgiving are up by 7.5% compared to the same time last year, in line with the overall rise in consumer prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.
U.S. consumers paid on average $3.65 per gallon at the pump for regular gasoline on November 21, the Monday before Thanksgiving. This is $0.25/gal higher than last year, but the rise is the same as the overall consumer goods price increase of 7.7%, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
After the average U.S. gasoline price reached more than $5.00/gal this summer, prices declined into the autumn as a result of seasonal price trends and declines in both crude oil prices and crack spreads, that is, the difference between spot petroleum product prices and crude oil prices, the EIA said.
The American Automotive Association (AAA) forecasts that 54.6 million people will travel 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, a 1.5% increase from 2021.
AAA said on Monday that the good news for drivers is that the national average dropped by 11 cents in the past week to $3.66/gallon. The bad news is that while lower, this week will see the highest Thanksgiving national average price since AAA started keeping records in 2000.
“This Thanksgiving will be about 20 cents higher than a year ago, and a dollar more per gallon than a pre-pandemic 2019. However, we can be thankful that gas prices are moving in the right direction for now,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross.
Earlier this month, fuel-savings app GasBuddy estimated that this year’s average U.S. gasoline prices on Thanksgiving are expected to be at their highest level ever for the holiday, beating the previous record from Thanksgiving of 2012.
By November 21, the national average price had declined to $3.639/gal, the lowest since February 28, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said.
“Gas Prices have even more room to fall, potentially to $2.99/gal in the weeks ahead,” De Haan said on Monday.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com