Over the river and through the crowds

Published: Nov. 21, 2018 at 9:29 AM CST
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Load up the travel wagon. You and that turkey have appointments.

According to AAA, 54.3 million travelers will be on the move over the Thanksgiving weekend. That's an increase of 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Factors driving the increase include rising incomes, confidence in the economy and a strong labor market.

Travel By The Numbers

Of those traveling . . .

  • 48.5 million (89.4%) will travel by car which is up 4.9 percent from last year. That is 2.3 million more than in 2017 and the highest travel volume since 2005
  • 4.3 million (7.8%) will fly to their destination reflecting an increase of 5.4 percent over last year and the most since 2007
  • 1.5 million (2.8%) will travel by other modes including bus, train and ship
  • The holiday period is defined as Wednesday, Nov 21 to Sunday, Nov 25
  • Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips. If possible, avoid work commuting hours in the large metro areas as delays can be expected
At The Pump

Tumbling prices at the pump should help takes some of the gas pains out of the holiday.

AAA says that during the past month, the national average for unleaded fuel has fallen 24 cents a gallon to $2.62 a gallon. Crude oil inventories continue to build, now for the eighth consecutive week.

The drop in Midwest pump prices has been even greater. Unleaded gasoline in Nebraska has fallen 37 cents a gallon during the past month; in Iowa, prices have retreated 41 cents. Unleaded in Nebraska currently averages $2.45 a gallon; Iowa $2.38. Both states are reporting pump price averages lower than what they were at this same time a year ago. In 2017, unleaded fuel averaged $2.56 in Nebraska and $2.52 in Iowa.

Crude Observations

Crude oil is currently trading under $57 a barrel, down $20 a barrel from last month. For every $1 drop in crude oil costs, pump prices typically retreat two-cents or more per gallon.

Gasoline Price Trends
AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano says, “The nearly 49 million Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving will find pump prices similar to last year. "When it comes time to fill-up during the trip, motorists should keep in mind that gas stations along highly traveled routes may find prices more expensive than in-town."

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