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High gasoline prices don’t deter holiday travel

November 23, 2022 - 00:00
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BOSTON — As Americans prepare to hit the road for Thanksgiving, average gasoline prices will be at their highest seasonal level ever for the weekend, according to Gas-Buddy.

The national average is projected to stand at $3.68 on Thanksgiving Day – nearly 30 cents higher than last year, and over 20 cents higher than the previous record of $3.44 set in 2012.

But that won’t slow many down, with 20% more Americans planning to hit the road this year.

2022 has been a challenging year for drivers, breaking several records thanks to less global refining capacity and sanctions brought on by Russia’s war on Ukraine, according to analysts.

The number of Americans traveling over the weekend this year is up from 32% last year to 38%, a nearly 20% rise, with 62% of Americans not planning on road trips for Thanksgiving.

Twenty-one percent say they are choosing not to drive due to high fuel prices.

“It has been a dizzying year at the pump, with motorists likely feeling nauseous not from the eggnog, but from the roller-coaster ride at the pump with record gasoline prices earlier this year, which have fallen significantly since midsummer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

He added, “Americans, however, are proving that while we’ll openly complain about high gas prices, most of us aren’t deterred from taking to the highways to observe Thanksgiving with those that matter most to us, especially as precautions from the pandemic have eased.”

Travelers can expect roads to be busiest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 22, and on Friday 8-11 a. m.

Twenty-three percent of respondents to GasBuddy’s Thanksgiving survey say they’ll spend one to three hours in the car, compared to 2021, when most indicated they’d travel less than an hour away.

While 21% say high fuel prices have an impact on their travel, fewer are citing high gas prices this year (46% vs. 51% in 2021) as affecting their travel plans, according to GasBuddy.

Seventy-three percent of Americans traveling won’t be crossing state lines to do so.