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Gas prices are falling just in time for Thanksgiving travel

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Consumer Prices

FILE - A customer readies to pump gas at this Ridgeland, Miss., Costco, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. 

Fuel prices are declining around the region and nation just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday — one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

On Monday, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, reported the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline fell to $3.63. That is three cents less than the $3.66 reported Monday by AAA. Nationally, gas prices declined about 11 cents from a week ago and are expected to continue dropping.

De Haan is predicting the national average could drop to $2.99 per gallon by Christmas barring shifts in the oil market.

“Everyone will be seeing relief at the pump this week, with even more substantial declines on the way as oil prices plummeted last week to briefly trade under $80 per barrel,” De Haan said in a written statement. “It’s not impossible that if oil markets hold here, we could see a national average of $2.99 around Christmas, certainly the gift that every motorist is hoping for. Drivers shouldn’t be in a rush to fill up as prices will come down nearly coast-to-coast into the heavily traveled Thanksgiving holiday.”

Despite all that, AAA reports this week will see the highest Thanksgiving national average price for gas since AAA began keeping records in 2000.

“The national average has fallen sharply since the June peak of nearly $5.02,” said Morgan Dean, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson. “But this Thanksgiving will be about 20 cents higher than a year ago, and a dollar more per gallon than a pre-pandemic 2019. However, drivers can be thankful that gas prices are moving in the right direction for now.”

Prices declined last week because the market is concerned that oil demand could decrease due to growing economic concerns. For this week, persistent concerns that economic growth might stall or reverse course could push prices lower. If crude demand declines, prices will likely follow suit, according to AAA.

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, gas demand fell from 9.01 million to 8.74 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks rose by nearly 2.2 million bbl to 207.9 million bbl. Increasing supply and fewer drivers fueling up have pushed pump prices lower. As demand remains low and stocks grow, drivers will likely see pump prices dip through the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA.

Virginia’s average price of $3.42 is down seven cents in a week, 12 cents in the past month, but is 16 cents higher than on this day in 2021.

AAA reports a gallon of gas averages about $3.30 in the city of Bristol, Washington and Scott counties. That is a penny less than Sunday, six cents less than last week but nine cents higher than one year ago.

Prices on Monday were appreciably lower across Tennessee, where the statewide average price was $3.20, or 10 cents less than one week ago but nine cents higher than last year. Tennessee sported the nation’s seventh lowest average, trailing Texas [$2.99 per gallon], Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Average prices across Bristol and Kingsport in East Tennessee were $3.19 on Monday while the Johnson City average was $3.17, according to AAA. Diesel was $5 per gallon in Bristol and Kingsport and $4.98 in Johnson City.

Regular unleaded ranged from $3.16 to $3.59 across both Bristols Monday, a 43-cent spread, according to GasBuddy.com. Diesel sported a 56-cent price difference, ranging from a low of $4.83 to a high of $5.39.

Across Southwest Virginia gas prices range from $3.27 per gallon in Scott County to $3.31 in Washington County to $3.34 in Russell and Dickenson counties to $3.59 in Buchanan, according to AAA.

dmcgee@bristolnews.com — Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC

dmcgee@bristolnews.com | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC

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