Thanksgiving gas prices rise

As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, gas prices in the Parkland are experiencing a steady rise. While gas could be bought on Tuesday for as little as $2.10 a gallon in Fredericktown, prices at most Farmington stations hovered at the $2.29 a gallon mark.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, motorists in the Parkland are having to pay more to fill their tanks as they prepare to hit the road.

As of Tuesday, the price for a gallon of unleaded was going for as much as $2.29 at a number of stations in Farmington, with the lowest price in the area found at the Murphy USA station in Fredericktown where unleaded was selling for $2.10. The local average price for a gallon of unleaded was floating around $2.21.

While the holiday season tends to bring with it a rise in gas prices, average retail gasoline prices in Missouri have actually fallen 2.8 cents per gallon in the past week — averaging $2.31 a gallon on Sunday, according to a survey of 3,940 gas outlets in the state. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.54 a gallon.

Including Missouri’s change in gas prices during the past week, prices Sunday were 41.7 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 11.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 8.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 40.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Nationwide, petroleum analysts are expecting that Thanksgiving will see the highest gas prices since 2014 as the country prepares for the busiest traveling weekend of the year. Still, the average gas price in four of five states is lower than a week ago, coming as the number of Americans driving is expected to surge by 20 percent over last Thanksgiving, according to GasBuddy’s Annual Holiday Travel Survey.

According to the survey, the national average gas price this Thanksgiving will be $2.53 per gallon — the priciest Thanksgiving in three years, although not as high as the peak on Thanksgiving in 2012, where a gallon of unleaded gas cost an average of $3.44. Additionally, average gas prices have risen 9 cents in the last month, the largest pre-Thanksgiving Day increase since 2007, when average prices rose 26 cents in the 30 days leading up to the holiday.

According to Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst, this year has been unique at the pumps.

“Gas prices spent much of the time in the weeks approaching Thanksgiving by rising when typically, they would be on a sizeable downward trend,” he said. “On average, Americans are paying nearly 40 cents a gallon more than last year, which means collectively we’re spending $800 million more on fuel over the Thanksgiving travel period. Drivers should pay close attention to prices to avoid overpaying.”

To help save a little money at the pump, DeHaan urges motorists to watch out for state lines and avoid gas stations near the highway.

“Because of differing state taxes, in some extreme cases, drivers can spend an extra $25 when refueling the tank if on the wrong side of the line,” he said. “I’d also try to avoid gas stations on a long stretch of highway where gas will usually be pricey. If possible, plan ahead or drive a little farther toward the nearest town to find a cheaper station.”

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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