Cheaper gas awaits travelers

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

By William Morris

Owatonna People’s Press

OWATONNA — Price-sensitive motorists are sure to get a kick out of gas prices, which are projected to drop below $2 for the lowest rates since March 2009.

Email newsletter signup senior analyst Patrick DeHaan believes the national average price will be $1.99 on Thanksgiving, and it could be even cheaper in southern Minnesota, as prices in the Owatonna area already were down to $1.95 on Tuesday.

“Some folks automatically expect gas prices to rise in advance of a major travel holiday,” DeHaan said. “That’s become a popular misconception and this holiday exemplifies the point. November gas prices have slid significantly lower and holiday travelers will certainly be the beneficiaries.”

Nationwide, gas prices have been falling for months, and that trend is likely to continue into 2016, so DeHaan advises motorists to wait as long as they can before filling up their tanks.GasPrices

“It’s a trend we expect will continue through the end of 2015, so if you like the prices you see on Thanksgiving, you’ll be delighted when Christmas arrives!” he said.

A stronger economy and lower gas prices mean Thanksgiving travelers can expect more congested highways this year.

During the long holiday weekend, 46.9 million Americans are expected to go 50 miles or more from home, the highest number since 2007, according to travel agency and car lobbying group AAA. That would be a 0.6 percent increase over last year and the seventh straight year of growth.

While promising for the travel industry, the figure is still 7.3 percent short of the 50.6 million high point reached in 2007, just before the recession.

Like on every other holiday, the overwhelming majority of travelers — almost 90 percent — will be driving.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving — this year, Nov. 29 — is traditionally the busiest day of the year on the nation’s highways, and this year it is recognized as Drive Safer Sunday by a resolution in the U.S. Senate, according to nonprofit group Road Safe America.