Gas Watch: Austin area gas prices down, Texas average highest in 8 years for Thanksgiving

Gas pump

AUSTIN ( -- Gas prices across the state are at their highest in eight years as Thanksgiving approaches, according to the latest AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch.

Austin-area pump prices are lower for the third straight week, with drivers paying an average of $2.96 a gallon - four cents cheaper than last week and $1.21 higher than this time last year.

Across the state, drivers are paying an average of $3.00, which is five cents lower than last week and $1.21 more than last year. It's the most that drivers are paying on Thanksgiving since 2013.

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Drivers in El Paso continue to see some of the highest prices in the state at an average of $3.22 a gallon, while drivers in Amarillo are paying the least at $2.85 a gallon.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.40, 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.

After stubbornly staying above $80 a barrel since Labor Day, the price of crude oil tumbled this week into the mid-$70s.

Despite the higher prices at the pump, it's not expected to deter travelers from hitting the roadways. AAA expects 3.9 million Texans to travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving. 3.6 million of them, or 92%, will drive to their destination.