Gas Prices Fall as Millions Prepare to Hit the Road for Thanksgiving

November 15, 2018, 5:32 PM UTC

Driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house is going to cost you less this year.

After coming close to a four-year high in October, when the national average hit $2.91, gas prices have plunged, falling 21 cents per gallon as of Monday, according to AAA. They’ve since tumbled even further, to $2.666 on Thursday.

That’s still a higher average than a year ago (when things stood at $2.56 per gallon), but it’s a notable relief from the summer. GasBuddy, meanwhile, reports that numerous stations in states from Texas to Ohio, are offering a gallon of regular unleaded for under $2. And hundreds more are within a few cents of that now and could drop by the time Thanksgiving travelers get on the road.

Those roads will be crowded this year. AAA says 54 million people will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving in 2018, the most since 2005. Of those, 48.5 million will be driving, which is going to mean a lot of congestion. AAA warns drivers in San Francisco, New York, and Boston that they may experience delays that are as much as four times the normal commute time.

“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, in a statement. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”

Traffic may be just as congested on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, it appears, as retailers lure consumers in with big discounts and free cookies.

The plunge in gas prices comes as U.S. crude prices continue to fall. Prices currently stand at $56.90 per barrel. Goldman Sachs, though, maintains prices will rally to $80 per barrel by year’s end.