Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving can expect to pay the highest holiday pump prices in four years.
U.S. retail-regular grade gasoline averaged $2.61 a gallon on Monday, an increase of 4 cents per gallon from the same time last year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Higher crude prices have kept the cost of gasoline elevated compared to the last few years.
“Four years ago this weekend OPEC decided to open the spigots and that led to prices plummeting and for the last three years we’ve been dealing with relatively low prices although they have been creeping up year after year,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
More than 48.5 million Americans will drive at least 50 miles for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. While they’ll pay higher gasoline prices than last year, they can thank oil-market volatility for pushing pump prices lower versus October. The cost of gasoline has fallen about 20 cents over the last six weeks, according to the EIA.
Drivers on the U.S. Gulf Coast, which has about half of U.S. refining capacity and produces more gasoline than it consumes, will enjoy even lower prices. Through November 19, average Gulf Coast gasoline prices were 30 cents per gallon lower than the national average, while West Coast prices were 74 cents per gallon higher.