Motorists hitting the road for Thanksgiving will pay some of the highest gas prices in seven years.
GasBuddy predicts a gallon of regular will cost an average $3.35 on Thanksgiving Day, the highest since the $2.79 recorded in 2014.
The national average was $3.42 a gallon Thursday, according to GasBuddy. It was up a penny for the week, 10 cents for the month and $1.31 compared to a year ago.
Gas cost an average $3.19 a gallon in the Lafayette area, including Acadia, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes. That was up 13 cents for the week and 14 cents for the month but up $1.48 compared to a year ago.
Louisiana’s average, $3.10 a gallon, was down 2 cents for the week but up 2 cents for the month and $1.28 for the year.
Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy's head of petroleum analysis, said Thanksgiving Day gas prices stand a remote chance of exceeding 2012’s record for the most expensive national average for the date: $3.44 per gallon.
“Similarly to last year, motorists are contending with a rise in COVID cases ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, when many drive to celebrate with friends and family,” De Haan said in a news release.
"With global oil demand surging this year as the pandemic has eased, we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory some of the highest Thanksgiving gas prices on record," he added. "Americans are responding to the prices by slamming the car door shut and staying off the road.”
Results of GasBuddy's annual Thanksgiving Travel Survey, released Tuesday, show 32% of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving this year. That's down from 35% last year and 65% for 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Of the 68% who said they will not travel for Thanksgiving weekend, 51% cited high gas prices as the reason.
In contrast, the American Automobile Association's forecasts Thanksgiving travel will come close to pre-pandemic levels.
Overall, 53.4 million Americans will travel for the holiday, up 13% from last year and about 5% less than 2019, the AAA says. Of those, 48.3 million are expected to travel by car, up 8.4% from 2020 and higher than volumes seen as recently as 2018.
AAA did cite high gas prices as a damper on travel. But other economic trends also influenced the forecast, including continued improvements in personal income and a falling U.S. unemployment rate.
“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said as the annual forecast was released Nov. 9. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”
— Courier and Daily Comet Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 857-2201 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.
This article originally appeared on The Courier: Thanksgiving travel: Lafayette Louisiana gas prices highest in 7 years