Car travelers, gasoline prices fall for Thanksgiving 2020

November 18, 2020   By Arthur Murray

Car travelers, gasoline prices fall for Thanksgiving 2020

Car travelers, gasoline prices fall for Thanksgiving 2020

Last Thanksgiving, nearly 50 million Americans took to their cars for trips of 50 miles or more to visit friends and relatives over the holiday, according to the American Automobile Association. This year, amid fears of COVID-19, that number is expected to drop by more than 2 million people, the association says. Gasoline prices will be much cheaper than last Thanksgiving, though they have been rising lately.

As of today (Nov. 18), regular gasoline prices averaged $2.12 per gallon, according to AAA. That’s 48 cents per gallon cheaper than last year. And AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano McGee says that while prices are volatile right now, there is a possibility of more decreases.

“Following a jump in demand, we’ve seen a number of state gas price averages increase on the week,” McGee says. However, the majority of these increases were just a few pennies. She adds, “With many states seeing rising COVID-19 case numbers and a number of officials warning against holiday travel, demand is likely to see a dip in coming weeks.”

Where prices stand

Again, as of today, prices are highest in these states:

  • Hawaii, $3.24
  • California, $3.17
  • Washington, $2.76
  • Nevada, $2.60
  • Oregon, $2.59
  • Alaska, $2.50
  • Pennsylvania, $2.47
  • Utah, $2.31
  • Idaho, $2.31
  • Maryland, $2.26

Prices were lowest in these states:

  • Missouri, $1.77
  • Texas, $1.80
  • Mississippi, $1.81
  • Oklahoma, $1.81
  • Arkansas, $1.83
  • Louisiana, $1.85
  • Tennessee, $1.86
  • Alabama, $1.87
  • Kansas, $1.88
  • South Carolina, $1.89

The biggest reason for the lower prices this year. Demand has been much lower, primarily due to the pandemic. Supply also has been steady to up in 2020.

If you are traveling by car

AAA has some tips for those who are traveling for the holiday:

  • Planning is a must: Be sure to know restrictions for cities and states you’ll pass through for your trip. Some places are again restricting gatherings and other activities.
  • Practice health rules: Masks, social distancing, and handwashing are even more important for travelers as they come into contact with people from different areas. Pack extra face masks and disinfecting wipes, and take a stock of water and snacks to reduce stops along the way.
  • Check before you leave: If you plan to stay at a hotel, call and make sure it’s open. Find out what restrictions are in place and whether amenities such as restaurants will be operating. If you’re renting a car, ask the rental company how they’re cleaning cars between clients. Consider wiping your car down with disinfecting wipes.

Finally, AAA’s COVID-19 travel restrictions map can provide excellent guidance for your journey.