As Americans prepare to hit the road for Thanksgiving, average gasoline prices will be at their highest seasonal level ever for the weekend according to GasBuddy, the leading fuel savings platform saving North American drivers the most money on gas. The national average is projected to stand at $3.68 on Thanksgiving Day – nearly 30¢ higher than last year, and over 20¢ higher than the previous record of $3.44 set in 2012. But that won’t slow many down, with 20% more Americans planning to hit the road this year.
2022 has been a challenging year for drivers, breaking several records thanks to less global refining capacity and sanctions brought on by Russia’s war on Ukraine. The number of Americans traveling over the weekend this year is up from 31% last year to 38%, a 20% rise, with 62% of Americans not planning on road tripping for Thanksgiving. Twenty-one percent say they are choosing not to drive due to high fuel prices.
“It has been a dizzying year at the pump, with motorists likely feeling nauseous not from the eggnog, but from the roller coaster ride at the pump with record gasoline prices earlier this year, which have fallen significantly since mid-summer,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Americans, however, are proving that while we’ll openly complain about high gas prices, most of us aren’t deterred from taking to the highways to observe Thanksgiving with those that matter most to us, especially as precautions from the pandemic have eased.”
Travelers can expect Wednesday afternoon between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to be the busiest on the nation’s highways, and on Friday between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Twenty-three percent of respondents to GasBuddy’s Thanksgiving survey say they’ll spend one to three hours in the car, compared to 2021, when most indicated they’d travel less than an hour away. While 21% say high fuel prices are impacting their travel, surprisingly fewer are citing high gas prices this year (46% vs. 51% in 2021) for impacting their travel plans. Seventy-three percent of Americans traveling won’t be crossing state lines to do so.
GasBuddy offers several money-saving tips for motorists on the road this holiday season:
- Shop around for the best prices. The first gas station you see isn’t always the cheapest and driving a few extra blocks can save drivers upwards of 30 cents per gallon. GasBuddy also offers a Search Along Route feature to help drivers plan stops on their road trip.
- Pay with GasBuddy. A free payments service that offers up to 25 cents off per gallon on every fill-up at thousands of gas stations nationwide. Drivers can save upwards of $10per tank when used with the GasBuddy app during their holiday travels.
- Slow down on the road. Aggressive driving habits like speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking can cost drivers hundreds of extra dollars per year in fuel consumption.
- Watch out for state lines. Differences in state and local taxes can make filling up cheaper or more expensive if you’re crossing state lines on our trip. If traveling through multiple states, check the GasBuddy app to compare prices before filling up.
Methodology: GasBuddy analyzed 1,314 responses to its 2022 Thanksgiving Travel Survey from November 5 to November 9, 2022.