Fuel demand could spike this week as millions prepare for Thanksgiving travel
The following is a news release from AAA Idaho.
BOISE – Falling crude oil prices could relieve some pain at the pump for Idaho drivers, but according to AAA, the effect may be tempered by a spike in demand as 53.4 million Americans set out on a Thanksgiving vacation.
Crude oil, which makes up half the price of finished gasoline, dropped as low as $76 per barrel late last week, after staying at or above the $80 mark since mid-October. The drop came in response to fears that a COVID-19 resurgence could impact economic activity in the U.S. and Europe this winter, and a request by the Biden Administration to coordinate a simultaneous release of crude oil reserves between the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and India to drive prices down.
Today, Idaho’s average price for regular is $3.69 per gallon, which is a penny less than a week ago and three cents less than a month ago. The national average currently sits at $3.41 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago and three cents more than a month ago. This week, the Gem State fell to 9th place for most expensive fuel.
“On one hand, we project strong Thanksgiving travel numbers that will be just below pre-pandemic levels, including 290,000 Idahoans who will set out on a Turkey Day trip. In response, the price of crude oil is already up nearly a dollar today,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “But Austria recently announced a three-week travel lockdown due to rising COVID cases, and if similar situations crop up elsewhere, that could drive global demand down. The uncertainty is making oil and gas prices very shaky, and that’s a pattern that could continue through the end of the year.”
AAA says that gas prices could jump by as much as a nickel in some parts of the country this holiday weekend, as 90% of those who will travel for Thanksgiving will go by car. Nearly four million more Americans are expected to drive this year than a year ago.
Here’s a seven-year retrospective on Thanksgiving gas prices:
According to AAA travel projections, Tuesday will be the busiest day at the airport this week, and drivers will face the heaviest traffic congestion on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon when travelers will share the road with evening commuters.
“We encourage travelers to do their homework. Check for adjusted hours and capacity at restaurants and popular attractions, both at your end destination and along your route,” Conde said. “You should also check weather and traffic reports so that you know what to expect when you hit the road.”
Masks are required at airports, on airplanes, and at train and bus stations, and may be required in other places like museums and movie theaters, depending on state and local requirements. For the latest information, travelers can review AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map.
In addition to masks, those who make the decision to travel should bring hand sanitizer, wash their hands frequently, and pack disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces on airplane seats and in hotel rooms.
“As always, a safe road trip begins with an emergency kit that includes snacks and water, a first-aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflectors, and basic tools,” Conde said. “And please remember, the latest safety features in your car can never take the place of an engaged driver.”
Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices, as of 11/22/21:
Boise – $3.79
Coeur d’Alene – $3.36
Franklin – $3.68
Idaho Falls – $3.62
Lewiston – $3.27
Pocatello – $3.72
Twin Falls – $3.82