The statewide gas price average in Texas is $3.03 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. That price is four cents less than on this day last week and is $1.23 more per gallon compared to this day last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average at $3.22 per gallon while drivers in Amarillo are paying the least at $2.87 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.41, which is one cent less when compared to this day last week and $1.29 more than the price per gallon at this same time last year.
AAA Texas anticipates near pre-pandemic levels of travel during the Thanksgiving holiday period next week. Millions of drivers across Texas will be paying approximately $1.15 to $1.25 more for a gallon of gas than they would have if they traveled for Thanksgiving in 2020. Many people stayed home last year, but that certainly won’t be the case this year. In fact, with millions more of Americans opting to travel again after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, demand for crude oil and gasoline has increased substantially over this time last year and throughout most of this year. The increase in demand comes as the world reopens and has led to higher crude oil prices and furthermore higher retail gasoline prices for much of 2021.
However, for the first time in months oil prices started to slip below $80 a barrel in recent days. On Thursday, the price of crude fell to six-week lows after the Biden administration requested that China, Japan and South Korea release their strategic oil reserves. While crude oil and gas prices had already started falling earlier in the week due to a slight drop in demand, it’s still too early to say if prices will continue to drop leading into the busy Thanksgiving travel period. The silver lining for Texas drivers—this is the first time the statewide gas price average experienced a weekly drop in seven weeks.
“Texas drivers can be thankful that retail gas prices are starting to drop, but we won’t see anything close to the prices from Thanksgiving 2020. However, there are some simple steps drivers can take get the most bang for their buck when filling up for their holiday road trip,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “One of the easiest ways to save is to maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy, performance and longevity.”
Gas Price Impact on Thanksgiving Travel
While gas prices will be much more expensive than last year, the higher prices are not expected to deter holiday travelers. AAA predicts an estimated 3.6 million Texans will drive 50 miles or more to their Thanksgiving destination. Furthermore, drivers in Texas are paying the 2nd lowest gas price average in the country, according to gasprices.aaa.com.
AAA Texas Fuel Saving Tips
• Bad driving isn’t just unsafe. It’s expensive. Studies have repeatedly shown that personal driving habits are the single biggest factor that affects vehicle fuel consumption. Adopting new and improved driving behaviors not only makes car travel safer, it can contribute to significant savings at the gas pump. Here are some simple ways you can improve your car’s gas mileage:
• Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
• Slow down and drive the speed limit. Higher speeds result in more aerodynamic drag.
• Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.
• Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
• Minimize your use of air conditioning.
• If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.
• Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
• Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than larger models.
• Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. On the highway even an empty bike rack can reduce fuel economy, and a loaded rack or car-top container will have a major effect on gas mileage.
• Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
• Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
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