Gas prices are the lowest since February but higher than last year as Thanksgiving approaches

Gas pump.
Gas pump. Photo credit Getty Images

The average cost for a gallon of gas in the United States is now the lowest it has been since February, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

However, prices are still extremely high, as AAA says the current $3.60 average is the highest price ever recorded on the week of Thanksgiving.

AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross shared in a statement that prices have continued to fall since they set an all-time high in June.

“The national average has fallen sharply since the June peak of nearly $5.02,” Gross said in a statement to NBC News. “But this Thanksgiving will be about 20 cents higher than a year ago, and a dollar more per gallon than a pre-pandemic 2019."

Even with prices being a dollar more than they were three years ago, Gross says, “we can be thankful that gas prices are moving in the right direction for now” after months of uncertainty.

As Americans get ready to travel for Thanksgiving, nearly 49 million people are expected to travel by car this holiday season by 50 miles or more, according to another report by AAA.

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel, said in the report. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

Where people are driving this weekend plays a role in how much they will pay at the pump. Price currently varies by as much as a dollar depending on where they are. For example, in Texas the average price is below $3, and in California, it’s just above $5.

Part of the reason behind the difference in prices is supply and demand. AAA shared that increasing supplies and fewer drives have helped pull the pump prices down, and they are expected to continue to drop as gasoline stocks grow.

But, even though prices are expected to drop throughout Thanksgiving, Twidale said travelers should expect to see a busy year.

“Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination," Twidale said. "If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images