AAA: Gas prices continue downward trend for Thanksgiving return trips

AAA LogoAs an estimated 41.3 million Americans and 1.2 million Virginians hit the roads this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, they will have filled their gas tanks at the lowest gas prices for the holiday since 2009. With most travelers returning home today through Sunday, many will be paying lower gas prices than when they filled up their vehicle before their trip.

The nationwide average price for a gallon of gas today is $2.79 a gallon, which is five cents lower compared to a week ago, 24 cents drop from last month, and 49 cents decline versus the price at this time a year ago.  The national average has declined for 64 consecutive days.

Virginians returning home will find the average price for gas at $2.63 per gallon, which 43 cents a gallon less than a month ago and 61 cents less than last year on this date.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met yesterday and agreed to sustain its current production level despite the abundance in global oil supplies and declining prices, a decision which resulted in the price of the commodity plummeting during subsequent global trading.  Market watchers were speculating if the cartel would cut production, which would have likely propped up oil prices and in turn prices at the pump.

At the close of formal trading on Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil closed at $73.69 per barrel, down slightly more than $2.00 per barrel from Monday’s settlement price (the markets were closed on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday).  WTI has now settled below $80 for more than three straight weeks – the longest streak since September 2010.  As of noontime on Friday, the commodity was trading even lower, just under $69 per barrel, reflecting a 36 percent drop from the commodity’s 2014 peak of $107.26 on June 20.

“As travelers return home from their Thanksgiving holiday getaway, many are paying gas prices that are lower than what they paid before leaving on their road trip,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs.  “Across the country motorists are enjoying lower prices as oil production is exceeding demand and resulting in low crude oil prices.”

If oil prices continue their decline, and barring any unforeseen circumstances that could disrupt the oil supplies or refinery operations, prices could continue to tick downward, which will bring additional good cheer during the holiday season.

 

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 

Today Last Month Last Year
National $2.79 $3.03 $3.28
Virginia $2.63 $2.81 $3.24
Charlottesville $2.65 $2.88 $3.19
Norfolk Area $2.67 $2.85 $3.26
Richmond $2.56 $2.70 $3.23
Roanoke $2.63 $2.79 $3.12

 

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