Gas prices dip just in time for busy holiday travel
Highest in the West, lowest in the South
After the largest pre-Thanksgiving increase in years, gas prices have dropped 3 cents in the last week as a record 46 million people are expected to hit the road for the busiest travel weekend of the year.
The dip -- to $2.54 as of Tuesday morning -- is good news for drivers who have watched prices spike nearly a dime in the last month. The average price for a gallon of unleaded is still 40 cents more than last Thanksgiving, though, and the highest for the holiday since 2014.
According to Gas Buddy, which crowdsources fuel prices and driving habits around the country, car travel over the long weekend will be 20 percent higher than 2016, translating into an additional $800 million in spending on fuel.
“This year has been unique at the pumps. Gas prices spent much of the time in the weeks approaching Thanksgiving by rising when typically they would be on a sizeable downward trend,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Drivers should pay close attention to prices to avoid overpaying.”
DeHaan suggests that drivers avoid gas stations closest to interstates and other major highways.
"If possible, plan ahead or drive a little farther toward the nearest town to find a cheaper station," he says.
And, DeHaan adds, pay attention to prices when crossing state lines. A recent Gas Buddy study found that, depending on which side of the border they refuel, drivers in some areas pay an average of $10 more for a tank of gas. And, in some cases, filling up on the on the wrong side can cost an extra $25.