- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Fewer Americans plan to drive somewhere for Thanksgiving this year than last year at the height of COVID-19 shutdowns and closures, according to price-tracking website GasBuddy.com.

Only 32% of Americans plan to hit the road for turkey gorging this year compared to 35% last year, when virus caseloads were nearly twice as high and gas cost $2.11 per gallon, according to a GasBuddy survey.

Gas is projected to cost $3.35 per gallon this year on Thanksgiving Day, on average, due to tight supply as the global economy struggles to shake off the pandemic doldrums, the website said.

“Similarly to last year, motorists are contending with a rise in COVID cases ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday when many drive to celebrate with friends and family. Only this year, we’re also just cents away from the highest Thanksgiving gas prices ever recorded,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “With global oil demand surging this year as the pandemic has eased, we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory — some of the highest Thanksgiving gas prices on record. Americans are responding to the prices by slamming the car door shut and staying off the road.”

Just over half of those polled, 51%, said gas prices are impacting their Thanksgiving travel plans compared to 6% in 2020, when officials advised people not to gather for the holidays because of the COVID-19 threat.

Three-quarters of Americans told GasBuddy that COVID-19 will not impact their holiday plans this year, up from 46% who said it wasn’t a factor last year.

Half of Americans say they are driving less overall right now. Asked what it would take to drive more, 78% said lower gas prices. 

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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