Gas prices on Thanksgiving Day will average $1.99 per gallon, the lowest level since March 2009, according to a new analysis from GasBuddy. Over the course of the five-day holiday from Wednesday through Sunday, that will save American drivers a collective $1.5 billion dollars compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday, says GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.
DeHaan says that continued low gas prices in the U.S. can be attributed mostly to an increase in the amount of crude oil produced in the U.S., with American oil inventories up 27 percent compared to this time last year. With an increase in supply while demand for gasoline “has really not picked up much,” prices have fallen at the pump.
The benefit to drivers appears to be paying off by making holiday travel more affordable this year, with a GasBuddy survey of 100,000 Americans revealing that two thirds plan to drive more than 200 miles over the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year, gasoline cost closer to $3.00 per gallon during Thanksgiving.
“The big difference is that this year motorists are driving farther to get to their travel destinations,” DeHaan says. “The low prices do appear to be leading people to rethink how far they’re driving, and more people are willing to drive farther.”
Backing up those findings, an AAA Travel survey found that 46.9 million Americans will drive at least 50 miles from home over Thanksgiving this year, the highest figure since 2007 and an increase of 0.6 percent since last year.