It is estimated that 48.3 million Americans pass by Thanksgiving, and they will find that the gasoline prices along the way are not in line with their preferences.
Due to inflation, the holiday meals at their destinations will be expensive to put together, and it will be more expensive to get there. According to data from AAA, the national average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline is $3.40, the highest level since 2012 on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
In an era when more and more cars are turbocharged and require a premium, the national average price of high-octane fuel is $4.03.
The national average price of Diesel is $3.64.
California has some of the highest average prices, with a regular price of $4.70 per gallon and a premium of more than $5.
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However, from a historical point of view, the national average price of ordinary lead-free at US$3.40 is far below the highest average price in the history of AAA: US$4.11 per gallon in July 2008—US$5.28 in today’s US dollars.
The current gasoline prices will not force anyone to stay at home. AAA stated that when people pay more attention to the social distancing of the pandemic, it is expected that travel volume will increase by 8% compared with last year, but this year’s level will drop by 3% compared with 2019.
Thanksgiving is really a driver’s holiday, because the number of people traveling by car dwarfs the 4.2 million expected to travel by air.
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden authorized the release of 50 million barrels of crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an attempt to reduce oil prices. But any impact this move may have on retail gasoline will not be immediately apparent. And this amount may not increase the supply that much—it’s just the amount of oil that Americans consume in 2.5 days.