The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Thanksgiving Travel and Fuel Prices

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted November 22, 2010

Nearly 42.2 million travelers are expected to hit the roads or take airplanes during the Thanksgiving holiday. According to AAA, that's an increase of 11.4 percent over last year.

AAA says improvements in the economy, disposable personal income, and household net worth combined with a decline in consumer debt are allowing more Americans to venture at least 50 miles from home. While 3.5 percent more travelers will fly to their destinations, an estimated 12 percent more motorists will be on the roads during the Nov. 24-28 period. (Reuters)

gasoline taxes.jpgWhat can Thanksgiving travelers expect to pay for gasoline this holiday season? AAA data released today show that the nationwide average price of gasoline stood at $2.883 per gallon yesterday, down 0.5 cents from the day before. The lowest prices were found in South Carolina and Missouri, while the highest prices--above $3.10 per gallon--were recorded in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington.

The U.S. average price of diesel fuel fell 0.2 cents yesterday to $3.196 per gallon. AAA data show Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi and South Carolina had the lowest diesel prices, while the retail price of diesel fuel exceeded $3.50 per gallon in Hawaii, Alaska and Washington.

Why is there a price disparity between states? There are several reasons why prices can vary from state-to-state. One of the largest factors is the amount of state, regional and local taxes. As these charts show, the taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel are the highest in California, where the retail price of each gallon of gasoline includes 65.0 cents in taxes. California's retail price of diesel fuel is taxed at 73.1 cents per gallon.

Maps available on API.org illustrate the amount of tax applied to gasoline and diesel fuel in each of the states and the District of Columbia.

AAA says travelers will spend a median of $495 this Thanksgiving, which is about the same as last year. Thanksgiving costs less than other holidays because the big meal of the day is consumed at someone's home.

If you're planning to drive this year, be sure to buckle up and drive defensively. Safe travels!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.