By Frank Lewis
One might call the current gas prices as part of a “perfect storm,” what with holiday travel just around the corner. When you look closely in Scioto County, you will see that while gasoline prices vary greatly, they are trending downward. Prices of $1.89, $1.92 and $1.99 are being seen, and pump prices have fallen for ten consecutive days, reaching a local average of $2.19 and a national average price of $2.16 per gallon. AAA believes that average U.S. prices should continue to decline and could drop below $2 per gallon by Christmas for the first time since 2009. In fact, retail averages are down 74 cents per gallon year-over-year.
AAA Travel reports nearly 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend. The holiday travel forecast marks the seventh consecutive year of growth resulting in the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007; resulting in a 0.6 percent jump from the 46.6 million people who traveled last year. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.
“One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008,” Jim Lehman, President of AAA East Central, said. “With the decline in gas prices, more Americans can afford to drive to spend more time with loved ones near and far this holiday season.”
Refinery production in the Midwest appears to be recovering, which should help improve prices in the region. For example, the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Illinois, has reportedly concluded its scheduled maintenance and returned to production. This and other refinery restarts in the Midwest have led to large weekly and monthly price discounts in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
Historically, gasoline demand tends to decline during the month of November, and with the autumn refinery maintenance season nearing completion, pump prices are expected to move lower to close out the year, barring any unanticipated outages or supply disruptions.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.